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Why is There a Sudden Rise in Same-Sex Divorce?

As states across the U.S. now acknowledge the legal right for same-sex couples to marry, that right also grants those couples the ability to end their marriages in divorce. Up until the recent Supreme Court decision covering all 50 states, some same-sex couples found themselves in quite a predicament. For example, a same-sex couple residing in Mississippi, who got married in California, could not get divorced in Mississippi because the marriage was not recognized or valid in Mississippi. Nor could they get divorced in California without establishing residency in the state for at least six months. So, they were stuck waiting.

Before the June 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision declaring state-level bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, many same-sex couples jumped at the opportunity to be first in line at the court house when their respective states gave their nuptials the thumbs up. That brought in couples that had been together for decades, and some, fearful those state rulings could be overturned, that had only been together for months. But it’s more than just the common disbanding of young love that has brought a sudden rise in same-sex divorce.

The many protections of a legal divorce have provided added incentives and confidence for many same-sex couples to honor themselves by parting ways. When divorce is pursued in accordance with the law, it provides for important measures like the division of assets, terms for alimony, child custody and child support. Without these legally in place, same-sex couples had a much more challenging road of insuring fairness in a split.

There is a sudden rise in same-sex divorce because same-sex couples now have the same opportunities, and complications, as opposite-sex spouses. The opportunity to decide their fate, with legal protection, means in a California divorce, a same-sex spouse can call upon California Family Code 2080 to “restore the birth name or former name of that party.”

Another reason same-sex divorce may be seeing a sudden spike is that there is finally legal same-sex divorce news to report, and attorneys are keeping track of their growing number of same-sex clients. This will be brand new territory for many. How does a couple handle a family inheritance in the context of a newly recognized marriage that is now disbanding? If a same-sex couple was married in Canada, had their marriage validated in Massachusetts, but now lives in California, how do they determine the legal age of their marriage contract? These become important questions that factor into the calculations each state uses to determine division of assets, alimony and child support payments.

The challenges of relationships of all flavors sometimes require larger perspective to help navigate through tougher waters. Author Herman Hesse said it this way — “Whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.” There are many valuable legal resources available to all married people that have formerly been denied to same-sex couples.

With these newly established rights, same-sex couples should be prepared with the important legal knowledge of how marriage and divorce law function. For those same-sex couples with ties to Southern California, a Pasadena divorce attorney servicing the greater Los Angeles area can assist with the complexities of knowing how to proceed with divorce.

If you are ready to proceed with divorce, or simply need legal counsel on how the law applies to your particular situation, a Pasadena divorce attorney should be counted among the many resources available to those same-sex couples that can now be legally called “married.”