Indiana Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Also Means Divorce

Prior to Oct. 6, Indiana same-sex couples that had been married in other states and were seeking divorce were caught in a bit of a rut.

No Option for Indiana Same-Sex Divorce

For Indiana lawyers, this also provided a bit of a rut – especially when couples contacted them asking how to legally obtain a divorce. Such was the debacle for Indianapolis family law attorney Kathy Harmon. To enquiring couples, Harmon could only recommend what’s called a partition action or division of assets. “But I can’t get you divorced, so that you can go get remarried,” she told them.

Divorce for Everyone!

But that has changed now that same-sex marriage became legal in Indiana on Oct. 6. “There’s no difference in that regard now,” Harmon said. “Since we are now treating these marriages as we treat opposite-sex marriages, their divorces will be treated the same as well.” Couples married elsewhere who are now seeking divorce in Indiana are free to.

Difficulties with Same-Sex Divorces

But just because same-sex divorce is now legal, that doesn’t mean they’ll be free of complications. Issues arise often as the result of how same-sex couples have been dealing with their past inability to get married. One such example is a cohabitation agreement that a lot of couples entered into in order to determine who gets what if they do separate. A court will need to determine this. According to Harmon, one option might be to treat the cohabitation agreement like a prenuptial agreement.

Another complication arises when child custodial issues are considered. If one partner had a child through adoption or artificial insemination and the second partner did not file for second-parent adoption then the non-adoptive parent has no rights to the child. A few cases like these are all ready being settled in courts.

Source: Indy Star, Same-sex marriage in Indiana opens door to divorce, too, October 21, 2014

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