As more states legalize same-sex marriages, the question of same-sex divorces becomes increasingly difficult to answer. If a couple’s marriage is not recognized, then is there divorce recognized? And what does a same-sex couple do when they want to get divorced?
Legal in 19 Jurisdictions
Same-sex marriages are only recognized in 19 jurisdictions: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Washington, D.C.
A same-sex couple, married under Massachusetts law, will only be able to obtain a “no fault” divorce if either spouse is a resident of Massachusetts, or of the cause of divorce is an act of infidelity that occurred in Massachusetts. If these criteria are not met, then that couple will not be able to obtain a legal divorce.
For a same-sex couple living in a state that does not allow same-sex marriage, but that has been married in a state where it is legal, a divorce may be harder to obtain. This is because of most states’ required residency laws. In the above example, if neither spouse lived in Massachusetts, but were married in the state, then the couple might need to move to Massachusetts to establish residency before being able to legally file for divorce.
Same-Sex Divorce in California
Since California divorce laws require 6 months residency, one of the divorcing spouses would need to reside in the state for at least 6 months prior to the divorce filing. If a couple was married in California, but are not residents of California, and if they reside in a state that does not recognize same sex marriage, then they are able to obtain a divorce in California.
Should I Get a Lawyer?
Since same-sex divorces are a new area of law, it would probably be best to hire a divorce lawyer who can walk you through the ins and outs of filing for a same-sex divorce. An attorney will be able to advise you of all your available options based on where you are residing and where you were married.
For advice on divorce and all it’s aspects, you need the expert law firm of Korol and Velen, certified family law specialists. Schedule a consultation today.
Source: Legal Match, Same-Sex Divorce, 2014
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