In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same sex marriage was legal. Same sex marriage is now legally recognized in every state, although it is a pretty new development. Now more people have access to marrying whomever they choose. When more people marry, sadly, there are more divorces.
Before the monumental Supreme Court ruling, only some states recognized same sex marriage and that made divorce that much more difficult. If a legally married same sex couple moved to a state that disallowed their union, then they couldn’t be granted a divorce in that state either.
Reconciling Residency and Divorce Laws
The law stated previously that a same-sex couple could get divorced in the same state they married in, but that still proved difficult if they moved away after getting married. Most states require a couple to establish residency before divorce proceedings. This creates a back and forth relocation for each person and is rather impractical. Some couples who travelled to another state outside of their residency to get married and returned to states that didn’t recognize their marriage also have this issue because their home state won’t grant a divorce.
A couple in a civil union or domestic partnership might face further challenges. Although the two are considered alternatives to marriage, state laws are varied about their recognition. You should check with an experienced divorce lawyer to be sure. Despite the changing of the times, it can still be pretty confusing to figure out what you are allowed legally. Two variations between a civil union, domestic partnership and marriage include:
- A same sex couple in a domestic partnership or civil union may not be able to dissolve their relationship if they formalized it in one state and moved back to another where it isn’t recognized. This is extremely similar to the dissolution of a marriage.
- Same sex couples that entered into a civil union in Delaware or Rhode Island before 2013 automatically got their arrangement changed to marriage.
Consult an experienced Divorce Lawyer
Family law or divorce attorneys often give a free consultation for couples considering dissolving their relationship, whatever arrangement it may be. Thankfully they know the laws from before and after the landmark legalization of same sex marriage and can provide you expert guidance for your unique situation. Call a Tampa FL divorce attorney today and confirm your legal rights and determine how to navigate through the separation process.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from the McKinney Law Group for their insight into divorce.