With the legalization of same sex marriage as well as the Supreme Court's recent decision on DOMA, many things have changed for same sex couples in Massachusetts. Now that these couples enjoy equal access to marriage, it is not surprising that news of same sex divorces are also already on the rise.
While many aspects of a same sex divorce are going to be very similar to a typical divorce, there are some issues which could potentially pose some legal difficulties is not properly handled. One of these issues is asset division and the assignment of alimony payments.
Take, for example, the recent divorce case of actress Jane Lynch. Lynch and her wife have recently gotten divorced in what was described as a mutual and non-acrimonious separation. However, it has now come to light that Lynch's ex-wife is also requesting monthly spousal support payments in the amount of nearly $94,000. According to the request, this is in part out of a desire to maintain the lifestyle she was afforded during their three-year marriage.
As a result of Lynch's acting success, it was reported that her assets increased dramatically during the time they were married. This may mean that Embry is entitled to a share of these assets, which could be considered shared marital property. However, in July 2013 it was reported that Lynch filed papers, which would seek to prevent her ex-wife from receiving support payments. Despite filing these papers, Lynch seemed open to the possibility of paying support in a recent interview.
One primary reason why same sex divorces may face additional problems during a divorce, particularly in with property division, is the issues arising from the time before same sex marriage was legalized. Since many individuals were living together and comingling their assets before marriage was an available option, it can be difficult to decide which assets should be considered marital assets and which are not.
While the couple may be able to resolve these issues themselves, an individual facing divorce may find benefit in seeking the assistance of an experienced family law attorney who focuses on the issues surrounding same sex divorce.
Source: Huffington Post, "Jane Lynch: Lara Embry Requests Spousal Support in Divorce," Sept. 9, 2013