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The hurdles of same-sex divorce


When Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage, the issue of same-sex divorce went under the radar. While many might assume that with marriage comes divorce, the truth is that same-sex divorce is oftentimes more complicated that those of other marriages. As this blog recently covered, the repeal of DOMA may make same-sex divorces even more complicated. Thankfully, with some knowhow and legal assistance from industry professionals, many same-sex couples can find their way through the complications.

One of the most important steps in avoiding the common problems of a same-sex divorce is to be aware of the possible complications before they arise. Oftentimes these complications resolve around the reality that many courthouses throughout the country have not caught up with the changes, particularly those that do not have same-sex marriage laws enacted. In fact, some same-sex couples may find it impossible to get divorced should they move to a state where same-sex marriage is not recognized. While certain state judges may be willing to grant a divorce in unique circumstances, same-sex couples cannot trust in this possibility.

Another problem comes because same-sex marriage is still in transition from a period where it was not recognized. In a marriage, it can be more easy to determine when an individual's commitment to one another legally began. From this point on, income that was earned, products purchased, and other acquisitions of assets can be defined as shared marital assets for all legal purposes.

Many states throughout the county, however, have not yet agreed on a definition for when a same-sex couples should be considered legally committed to one another. In cases where a significant amount of assets are involved, details such as this can have significant impact on a settlement.

With time, many of these problems may get resolved, making the process of same-sex divorce a more straight-forward and equal process. Until then, however, same-sex couples could benefit from researching the issues and being prepared.

Source: Huffington Post, "Gay Divorce: For Gay Couples, Divorce Equality Is Also A Trial," Geoff Williams, July 5, 2013

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