Couples face obstacles with same-sex divorce

The right to marry has been celebrated by same sex couples as more states recognize their unions. However, one aspect of same sex marriage that is now garnering as much attention is the flip side of same-sex divorce. Any Maryland same sex couple seeking a divorce may want to pay close attention to the obstacles that may be in the way.

There are many couples who have traveled to states that recognize same sex marriage in order to legalize their union. However, if they live full time in a state that does not recognize their marriage, that state will not grant them a divorce. This proves troublesome because simply returning to the state they married and requesting a divorce is not as easy as it sound either. Most states have residency requirements, such as living in the state for a period of time before a divorce will be granted.

Other obstacles that may affect the quest to pursue a same sex divorce pertain to assets. There are couples who have lived together and share a home and finances for decades. If this couple has only been legally married for one year and then attempt to divorce, dividing assets can get complicated as they have only "legally" shared a life for a short period. In cases such as this, prenuptial agreements may be of benefit ahead of time.

While the logistics of same-sex divorce for Maryland couples and others are still being worked out, careful attention to residency requirements and property division may be of benefit. Any couple going through a same sex divorce may find staying up to date on changing legislation can help them be fully prepared for the consequences of their divorce. As with any divorce, the protection of rights and protection of assets is paramount as couples split and move forward after divorce.

Source: NBC News, Gay divorce: It may not be as easy as the marriage, Judith Messina, Oct. 16, 2013