Massachusetts was the first state to grant same-sex couples the right to legally marry in 2004. Since that time, 36 more states have joined in. The remaining 13 United States have same-sex marriage ban laws currently in place. If you are a same-sex couple and you live in one of the remaining 13 states, it could be very difficult for the two of you to file for a divorce.
The Residency Requirement for Divorce
When a couple wants to file for a divorce, at least one party has to live in the state in which the couple wants to file. If one party lives in an equal marriage state, the divorce will have to be filed in that state. If the couple is trying to file a divorce in one of the 13 states left fighting against gay marriage, the law states that one person has to live in the state and the state must recognize their marriage. You can't file for a divorce in a state if that doesn't recognize your marriage.
Even Separated, Same-Sex Couples Face Responsibility to Each Other
When a same-sex couple separates in a non-recognition state, the separation is not legal because neither is their marriage. If the couple continues to live in the non-recognition state, both parties are considered legally single are not responsible for making decisions for the other. If one party happens to go to a same-sex recognition marriage recognition state and gets seriously injured, the former spouse in the non-recognition state may be the only person able to make decisions for the hurt individual. Getting a proper divorce in state that approves of same-sex marriage is the only way to move on with your life.
Neither Spouse Can Get Remarried in a State that Recognizes the First Marriage
It's a tricky road, when a same-sex couple isn't able to get a divorce, but then one party wants to remarry. Technically, if they live in a non-recognition state, the other person would be legally free to marry a person of the opposite sex. That marriage would be considered official, but if the couple then moved to a state where same-sex marriage is recognized, the person who was originally married to a same-sex individual is now married twice. It is illegal to be married to more than one person, and the second, straight marriage would be null and void.
If you are unsure about your own situation, contact a divorce lawyer like Andrew H. P. Norton.Share
10 April 2015
Are you going through a divorce? Do you have kids? If so, do you know how to handle the many struggles you will face when it comes to your kids? Even if you and your spouse can get through the divorce while agreeing on the custody arrangements, there will be struggles that you may not have planned for. For example, who will handle the educational, medical or other decisions about the kids? Is it something that you will decide together, or will one parent make the decision and the other one agree? My site contains several tips that can help you plan for the struggles you will go through in the future and make the situation a little easier for your entire family.