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Two Difficulties Associated with Same-Sex Divorce

Oct. 4, 2016

There was much celebration throughout the country when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015 with its ruling in Obergfell v. Hodges. For those who supported same-sex marriage, it was a big win. Unfortunately, it was not the end of the legal battles same-sex couples would face.

Same-sex couples continue to be plagued by family law issues. One area that can cause frustration is when a couple decides to divorce. NBC News recently discussed the issues that arise in these situations. The piece focused on the story of one couple’s divorce, but this couple’s story spotlighted two issues that any same-sex couple could face in the event of a divorce.

Issue #1: Do varying state laws cause a problem for same-sex couples seeking a divorce?

In short, the answer to this question is no, varying state laws should not cause a problem for same-sex couples that are seeking a divorce.

Before the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, couples would often travel from their home state to another that would recognize the marriage. Once the couple was married, they would return home. This could cause complications in the divorce process.

However, after Obergfell, same-sex couples have a right to obtain a divorce in any state, no matter which state they were married in. In theory, this should ease the divorce process for same-sex couples. In reality, the process may not yet be as smooth as it should.

Issue #2: Can complications can arise when children are involved?

Any divorce is more difficult when children are present, but this is especially true in same-sex divorce cases.

If the children are adopted, it is possible only one parent was listed as the adoptive parent. This can make it will be difficult for the other parent to fight for parental rights.

If the children are the biological child of one of the parents, only one parent may be listed on the birth certificate. This can also make it difficult for the other parent to fight for parental rights.

Can these issues be resolved?

Those who find themselves navigating these or similar issues are wise to seek the legal counsel of an experienced family law and divorce lawyer. This legal professional can review the details of your case and work to better ensure a more favorable outcome.