Can I sue my ex-lesbian lover for spousal support in a state that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage?

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Can I sue my ex-lesbian lover for spousal support in a state that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage?

After 11 years together I caught my same-sex partner sexting, she than admitted to cheating and left me abruptly. I was a housewife, disabled, and had no way to support myself. I am now homeless, jobless, carless, penniles,s and have no way to take care of myself. I also have suffered serious mental issues post breakup. She mocks me and refuses to talk to me or help me in anyway. Are there any legal steps or loopholes I can take in NC, a state that is not gay-friendly.

Asked on March 8, 2011 under Family Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can--and should--talk to a family law attorney, or an attorney specializing in LGBT issues and law, to see if you have recourse. You need too be prepared that there is a good chance you do not. As a general matter, except in rare, special cases, when an unmarried couple breaks up, one does not owe the other any support--unmarried cohabitation  is not, generally speaking, a relationship which the law recognizes by imposing obligations, and that goes doubly for gay relationships in many states, and triply for relationships that may have been longterm but did not involve cohabitation (though it seems that your relationship was cohabitation). Any jointly owned or bought assets should be split fairly; any agreements obligating her to pay for things (e.g. if she's on a mortgage or lease or car loan) will be honored, but she may not owe you anything beyond that. And note: even if if this was a hetrosexual marriage, your partner would probably not be liable for mental health issues  you suffer post break-up; people are not generally responsible for other's state  of mind or reactions to events.

If you don't know a relevant attorney, try contacting some LGBT support, education, or advocacy group for referrals.


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