Alexandria Family Lawyer Reflects on “Orange is the New Black” Writer’s Divorce

Like many Alexandria family lawyers, we have encountered complex and curious divorce cases over the years. Sometimes, surprising revelations change the course of the process and force all stakeholders to reassess what needs to be done and why. “Plot twists” are the hallmark of good television as well, and sometimes life eerily imitates art.

Consider the recent high-profile divorce of a staff writer for Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” as an example of how a revelation can change everything about a relationship.

As you may know, the TV dramedy is loosely based on the real life of a woman who had to serve a lengthy prison sentence, years after committing a crime with her then-girlfriend. In the fictional version of the story, the main character breaks up with her male fiancé, who’s waiting for her outside of prison, to rekindle her relationship with her old flame.

The show parallels the experience of Lauren Morelli, a writer who worked on Orange Is the New Black since fall 2012. Morelli had been married to a man, Steve Basilone. But shortly after beginning her new job, she concluded that she was gay, and she ended her marriage and began dating Samira Wiley, an actress on the show. Morelli has since openly discussed the dramatic shift in her life and the positive effects it’s had on her.

Morelli is fortunate to have discovered a more authentic life. However, the process of dissolving a marriage can be quite difficult for many LGBT individuals. Eccentric problems that can arise might include:

  1. Spousal “outings.” Whether maliciously — or in an attempt to explain the divorce — a spouse may disclose his or her former partner’s orientation to friends or family before that person is ready to “come out.”
  2. Extra complications. When someone wants a divorce for reasons having to do with sexual orientation, he or she may need to explain the complex decision to children from the marriage as well as to friends, family members and colleagues, who may ask difficult or overly probing questions.
  3. Privacy issues. Even if you’re not a celebrity, you may have a challenging time keeping your separation private.

At DiPietro Family Law Group, we understand that divorces occur for a diverse array of reasons. Whatever your circumstances, we can help you understand your options and work with your spouse to end the marriage fairly and equitably. To schedule a consultation, contact us today at 703-370-5555.

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