There has not been an outright movement – perhaps because this issue is not as romantic as the case for same-sex marriage – but lately more and more couples have been struggling to get a same-sex divorce.
Where is Same-Sex Divorce Legal?
In states where same-sex marriage is legal, same-sex divorce is also an option. However, many states still do not offer or even acknowledge same-sex marriage. For example, a same-sex couple married in California still will not be considered married in Mississippi. This means that Mississippi also will not grant a same-sex couple a divorce, even if many other states consider them legally married and even if they have documentation to prove that their marriage legally occurred.
Some people might wonder if it is counter-intuitive for a couple that lives in a state that does not recognize their marriage to fight for it to be recognized with the sole intention of the marriage then being dissolved. However, the divorce may be of more use than just closure. For example, if one member of the separating couple moved to a state or country that recognized the marriage, she would not be able to remarry. Furthermore, as more and more states and countries begin to acknowledge and permit same-sex marriages, their marriage might someday be recognized in the very state that refused to grant them a divorce. This would lead to further legal issues if either members of the previously-unacknowledged marriage had decided to get re-married.
Recent Same-Sex Divorce Case in the News
There is currently a same-sex divorce case in front of the Supreme Court of Missouri. Although the couple was married in Iowa after Iowa began permitting same-sex marriage, they are currently both residents of Missouri. Since Missouri will not recognize the couple’s marriage, it certainly will not grant them a divorce. The lower court had initially dismissed the case claiming that they did not have jurisdiction to hear it. The United States Supreme Court has not taken up a same-sex marriage case yet officially, but the Supreme Court of Missouri is set to rule on this same-sex divorce case soon.
If the divorcing couple does not win the case, they will have to jump through many hoops in order to get their divorce. At least one of the two parties would have to establish residency in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. Establishing residency can take six months or more, and it usually requires getting a new driver’s license and utility bills in your name. This will be no small feat, particularly if the couple has children, owns property or has to find new jobs. Divorce is already an extremely stressful process without the extra steps of relocating and waiting months just to establish residency in a state that will recognize the very marriage that you are trying to dissolve.
Contact the Law Office of Renkin & Associates today for representation in a custody issue or a divorce proceeding. We are prepared to zealously represent your interest to ensure you receive a fair outcome to your case.