In July 2015, the United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Prior to this ruling, each state was essentially free to decide whether to legalize same-sex marriage or not.
This caused a lot of confusion to say the least, as a same-sex couple could have been recognized as being a married couple in one state but not in another. Another confusing aspect was that a same-sex married couple now residing in a jurisdiction which did not recognize same-sex marriages or divorces would have to travel to another jurisdiction if they wanted to seek a divorce.
With the 2015 landmark Supreme Court decision, same-sex marriages, as well as any rights and privileges that come with it, are now the law of the land.
A bitter reality for many marriages; however, is divorce, and same-sex marriages are certainly not immune to that (although, the same-sex divorce rate is lower when compared to the heterosexual divorce rate).
According to at least one report, 15% of same-sex marriages end in divorce within the first 10 years of marriage, compared to 18% of heterosexual marriages.
Same-Sex Divorce Issues
The divorce process for same-sex couples is generally the same as that for heterosexual couples. However, when it comes to dissolving a marriage, there are multiple issues which could come up and would need to be dealt with.
Some important critical topics which might need to be resolved when going through a same-sex divorce include:
- The division of property: Any property, including real estate, personal property, bank accounts etc., may have to be divided.
- Assignment of debt: If there is any debt in the marriage, it must be determined how it will be allocated.
- Spousal Maintenance: The issue of alimony must be resolved.
- Child support: It must be determined how much financial support any children must be given.
- Child Custody: It must be decided who will have custody of the child, as well as visitation rights.
Some issues, however, are unique to same-sex divorces. If both parents are not the biological parents of the child who is the subject of the child custody dispute, then there could be some confusion on the rights of the non-biological parents in relation to the child.
Spousal maintenance is another issue which could be tricky in same-sex divorces. Spousal maintenance is usually, partly, determined based on the length of the marriage. In the context of a same-sex couple who might have been together since prior to same-sex marriage being legal and only got married in 2015 or afterwards, the court will have to figure out which timeframe to apply when ruling on spousal support.
Theoretically, same-sex divorce is handled under the exact same laws and statutes as other family law related issues.
However, despite the landmark Supreme Court ruling recognizing same-sex marriage as well as the right to divorce, county and state officials could still create problems and difficulties for same-sex couples. Therefore, it is very important to work with lawyers who are experienced in working with same-sex couples.
Contact Missouri Same-Sex Divorce Lawyers
If you are going through a same-sex divorce, there will be many potential challenges to overcome. Therefore, it is very important to work with lawyers who are experts in handling same-sex divorce.
Our team of lawyers at Marler Law Partners are well-versed and experienced in handling such cases. We aggressively fight for the rights of our clients in order to get the best outcome.
Call us today for a free consultation regarding a same-sex divorce or any other family law-related matter.