Marriage Equality Makes Same-Sex Divorce Easier

Divorce is always a difficult process, but same-sex couples have faced many more challenges than their traditionally married counterparts, at least until recently.

In a landmark decision on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that states cannot ban, and must recognize, same-sex marriages. They clarified that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry, and that it also guarantees due process and equal protection under the law.

This decision may have an effect on more than just same-sex marriages. In response to prior laws that prevented and did not recognize same-sex marriages, some states adopted legislation benefiting domestic partners. In Ohio, for example, unmarried partners of either sex became eligible to join their partners’ health insurance plans and to take time off work to care for a partner who was ill. With the new law in place allowing same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states, these previously enacted laws will likely see revisions or be dissolved completely in the near future.

The Supreme Court’s ruling has made it much easier for same-sex couples to get both married and divorced.


Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision, divorce for same-sex couples in non-recognition states was an extremely complicated process. The roadblocks were particularly difficult in states such as Ohio, which didn’t recognize the marriages. In rare instances where residents of a non-recognition state found a judge who would take their case, the divorce needed to be uncontested: that is, all legal disputes regarding assets, child custody, financials, and other matters needed to be resolved out of court. For couples who were united in a marriage-equality state and then moved to a non-recognition state, the easiest fix was sometimes to re-establish residency in the state in which they were married. However, this was not an ideal choice because the residency process generally takes six months to one year.

Besides lack of jurisdiction in non-recognition states, divorcing same-sex couples have experienced countless other complications, with each state judging matters differently with regard to inheritance, pension, health care decisions, and child custody.

Although it remains a controversial subject, the legalization of same-sex marriage in all 50 states has resolved many issues pertaining to divorce in the nation’s legal system. The Supreme Court’s ruling has made it much easier for same-sex couples to get both married and divorced. Same-sex marriages are expected to increase throughout the U.S. If the divorce rate in this population proves comparable to that of traditional couples, the result could be a divorce boom.

As states adapt to the new Supreme Court ruling, it is especially important to have a divorce attorney who understands same-sex divorce and is looking out for your best interest. For more information about divorcing in the state of Ohio, call Susan M. Weaver, LLC, Attorney at Law – 216-373-2555.


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