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What Is The Process Of Divorce For Same-Sex Marriages?

After the life changing and historic supreme court decision in the case Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, which legalized same-sex marriages in the United States that helped all couples enter into marriage regardless of which gender they were marrying. But as we all know, many times no matter if we want the marriages, sometimes the best decision moving forward is for two people to move on separately in life. This also can happen in same-sex marriages, which is why it is important to learn and understand the law regarding the legal proceedings in the event of a divorce. 

When thinking about filing for divorce as a same-sex married couple in some states, the manner in which you can move forward with divorce is by applying and filing out the paperwork as any other married couple according to a divorce lawyer from our friends at the Brandy Austin Law Firm. Although the majority of the process for divorce proceedings are similar to any other married couple in most states, there is a small distinction when it comes to what the applicant who is filing for divorce has to show. For example, in a heterosexual couple divorce the party who is filing for divorce would need to show either one or all five components leading up to them filing for divorce. But in regards to a same-sex marriage, the spouse who is filing for divorce would have to show their partner has been either:

  1. Unreasonable behavior 
  2. Two years desertion
  3. Two years of separation (the other party, who will be served with the divorce papers, has to consent to the divorce)
  4. Five year separation (no consent required)

The difference in the fifth condition would be for the applicant to show adultery but in accordance with the legal verbiage in which adultery is defined by the law it is only applicable to heterosexual couples. However if adultery is the main cause of a same-sex marriage to end it can still be used to file for divorce, it will simply be used as an example of “unreasonable behavior.” 

Like any other married couple looking to separate, when there are kids involved it can further complicate things. So this same knowledge applies to same-sex couples looking to divorce who have children. Unlike heteorsexual marriages where custody is often split by both parents in same-sex marriages the courts may oftentimes decide to give custody to the biological parent only. This can occur in situations where the child was born before the marriage or if the child was born in another state as well.

There can be many reasons why you may choose to divorce your significant other, no matter what the cause, it is critical to see what options are available to you and how to optimize your resources to get you the end goal you want. The overall process and procedures apply in the same way for heterosexual couple divorces and same-sex marriages but there can be small complexities in the wording of the laws and rules that might apply differently in some situations. Which is why it is so important to understand exactly what the process would be for you and your spouse. Reach out to a lawyer near you that specializes in same-sex marriages to get started on your divorce.