LGBTQIA+ Families

LGBTQIA+ Family Law Attorney in Madison

Supporting the Rights of LGBTQIA+ Couples

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held that laws prohibiting same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, in Obergefell v. Hodges. Now that marriage between members of the same sex is recognized, many of the issues LGBTQIA+families had to address when they chose to be lifetime partners and raise children have been resolved. The same statutes and case law that have applied to married people and their children for decades, now apply to LGBTQIA+ families.

Issues that often affect LGBTQIA+ Families Include:


  • Terminating one’s marriage by divorce is a legal action that affects a legally recognized relationship between two persons.

  • The right to marry was only recently recognized for members of the LGBTQ community. As a result, legal issues relevant to the marital relationship may pose unique challenges to same-sex couples, especially concerning the status of their relationship before 2013.

Property Division

  • The division of marital property upon divorce requires courts to evaluate a variety of factors, including the length of a couple’s marriage. Generally, both spouses are entitled to an equitable share of marital property. This issue also depends on timing. Consequently, property division issues in divorce cases may be more complicated for same-sex couples who had a different legal status before 2013, or who got married in a different state and owned property there.

Maintenance or Spousal Support:

  • Upon getting a divorce, a party may be entitled to receive financial support from their former spouse.
  • Generally, a person is entitled to alimony or spousal maintenance if necessary to ensure they can maintain the marital standard of living after getting divorced.
  • Issues of spousal support also depend heavily on the length of the parties marriage, which can be a complicated matter to establish for LGBTQIA+ couples.

Child Custody

  • A person’s rights and responsibilities regarding the custody of their children arise from the legally recognized parent-child relationship. For same-sex couples, child custody issues may also be very challenging to resolve, especially for a party who has not established a parent-child relationship with a child.
gay couple

Balisle Family Law Legal Counsel, S.C. is proud to have been part of the pioneering efforts to obtain legal recognition of LGBTQIA+ relationships and families. Attorney Balisle has long advocated for the rights of LGBTQIA+ families to be fully recognized in Wisconsin courts and assisted same sex couples in negotiating financial and co-parenting agreements as part of their domestic partnerships and estate planning so they would have as much protection as possible.

Call our office at (608) 765-1001 for more information about our legal services for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

History of Helping LGBTQIA+ Couples & Families

Almost twenty years before the United Statement Supreme Court affirmed the right to marry for same sex couples, attorney Balisle represented the child in In re: Custody of H.S.K., 193 Wis. 1d 649 (1995), where the Wisconsin Supreme Court established a working standard allowing for visitation by the non-biological parent of a child raised by a same sex couple.

In that case, the court indicated it would consider co-parenting agreements between same-sex couples in the future. The court’s opinion was adopted and relied on by courts in other states around the United States who were struggling to find a legal basis on which to protect the families appearing before them.

Her decades-long commitment and knowledge in creating and supporting legal protections for LGBTQ families gives us a unique understanding of the issues which remain.

Questions You May Have When Seeking a Divorce

Were you married to a same-sex partner in another state before Wisconsin recognized such marriage? Did you live with your partner for many years before being allowed to marry in Wisconsin?

If you and your spouse file for a divorce, the court may have to decide how long your marriage was. Whether the court sees your marriage as one of 20+ years or of 3 years may determine whether property brought to the marriage is reason to adjust an equal division of property and may determine whether spousal maintenance is awarded.

Did you marry a same sex partner in another state, end the relationship but was not allowed to obtain a formal divorce in Wisconsin before 2013? Did you subsequently marry another person in Wisconsin?

You may have to formally terminate the prior marriage before you remarry. If you have remarried, you may have to obtain legal recognition that it ended before obtaining a divorce from your current marriage.

Have you continued to operate as registered domestic partners recognized by a previous statute?

There are no published cases addressing whether Wisconsin courts may recognize the former statutory rights of registered domestic partners. When domestic partners end their relationships, they operate outside the application of the family law statutes in Chapter 767 of Wisconsin statutes.

These are the type of questions our attorneys at Balisle Family Law Legal Counsel, S.C. are able to address with current LGBTQIA+ clients. We are committed to helping you understand your rights under Wisconsin law.

Call Balisle Family Law Legal Counsel, S.C. to Consult a Skilled Madison Lawyer For LGBTQIA+ Families

Are you in need of an attorney with valuable experience helping LGBTQIA+ couples and families get through challenging legal matters arising under Wisconsin family law? If so, you should get in touch with Balisle Family Law Legal Counsel, S.C. Our legal team has dedicated much of their practice to working on family law cases that affect LGBTQIA+ individuals and their families.

To schedule an initial consultation, please call us at (608) 765-1001 or contact our office online today.