Same-sex marriage continues to be a topic of debate in our country, but recent polls suggest that the majority of Americans now support gay marriage; 58% of Americans want it to be legal, while 36% want it to be illegal. With public support for same-sex marriage (and same-sex divorce) increasing, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing two cases that involve the legality of same-sex couples getting married.
Until the Supreme Court makes a specific ruling, gay marriage will continue to be a somewhat gray area under the law. Only a handful of states currently allow gay couples to become legally married, and gay marriage is not legal on a federal level.
This means that when a gay couple gets married in their state of residence, the marriage is only recognized in that state. If they were to visit or move to another state where gay marriage is not legal, their marriage would not be recognized under the law in that state.
This is a problematic issue not only because of the issue of the recognition of marriage, but also because of the problems that arise when a same-sex couple that is married decides to get a divorce. When a gay couple gets married in a state that recognizes gay marriage, same-sex divorce is usually relatively similar to when a man and woman get divorced.
However, divorces can get tricky for gay couples under certain situations. When a same-sex couple that gets divorced in a state that allows gay marriage moves to a state that does not recognize gay marriage, divorcing in that state can be an extremely complicated matter, or in many instances not even possible.
This is because most states that do not recognize same-sex marriages will not end them either. Moving back to the state where the couple got married may not be an option either, as many states require a period of residency before a couple is able to get divorced there. Some states are starting to create rules that allow a couple to get divorced if there are not many issues involved.
Unfortunately, many gay couples will still be unable to get divorced. Perhaps if the Supreme Court grants a decision favoring the legality of gay marriage on a federal level gay couples who have been unable to get divorced may be able to do so in the foreseeable future. If you have questions about your divorce, speak to an experienced divorce attorney in the Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Source: Here & Now, “Same-Sex Couples Battle For Divorce Equality” Susan Sommer, March 22, 2013