States That Allow Same-Sex Divorce

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Same-Sex Divorce Legal Issues

While the battle over same-sex marriage tends to make more headlines, the right for a same-sex couple to obtain a divorce is just as polarizing. What is most perplexing about this issue is that some states allow same-sex marriage without granting same-sex divorce.

Many same-sex couples has a difficult time getting a divorce before the U.S Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in Obergfell v. Hodges where it legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Before the ruling, same-sex couples that moved to states that did not recognize same-sex marriage were barred from getting a divorce in these states. However, after the June 26, 2015 Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage legal in all states nationwide, same-sex married couples can also obtain a divorce in all states nationwide.

Can Same-sex Couples Obtain a Divorce?

Now that all 50 U.S. states recognize same-sex marriage as being legal, same-sex couples may also obtain a divorce under the laws of any state they wish to get a divorce in. This allows any same-sex couple to travel to any of the 50 U.S. states and obtain a divorce.

State divorce laws now apply to all same-sex married couples. States vary their divorce laws in several ways:

What Is the Residency Requirement for Same-sex Divorce?

After the Obergefell decision, same-sex couples have a fundamental right to get a divorce in a state regardless of their state of residence. Many states that allow same-sex marriage also allow non-resident same-sex couples to get a divorce in the state even if they have not been a resident in the state.

California allows non-resident same-sex couples to get a divorce in the state of California even if neither spouse lives in the state. The same-sex couple must file for divorce in the county that they were married in.

What Are My Options for Same-Sex Divorce?

Since same-sex marriage is recognized as a heterosexual marriage in all states, a divorce is also similar for same-sex couples as heterosexual couples. This means that during a divorce, their partnership may include shared homes, cars, bank accounts, benefit plans, and adopted children. Basically, married same-sex couples are now afforded the same property rights and laws as married heterosexual couples.

Seeking Legal Advice

The reality is that obtaining a divorce in a state where same-sex marriage is banned may be incredibly costly and difficult. It may involve filing a lawsuit against the state government challenging the ban on their marriage and divorce. The only way to effectively resolve this situation is to hire an attorney. Even in states where same-sex marriage and divorce are permitted, a family lawyer can help you ensure property and assets are split fairly between you and your partner.

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Last Modified: 05-04-2016 03:36 PM PDT

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