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Same-Sex Divorce: What Should I Know?

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Historically, same-sex couples faced significant obstacles concerning their legal right to marry. This was primarily because not all states recognized it as a lawful practice. However, in 2015, same-sex marriage was declared legal in all fifty states, rendering all state bans unconstitutional. The decision in the case Obergefell v. Hodges marked a milestone in recognizing marriage equality rights for LGBTQ partners. It’s crucial to note that with marriage equality came divorce equality. Although, in today’s society, same-sex couples are treated the same as their heterosexual counterparts, the LGBTQ community faces unique challenges when divorcing. If you’re seeking a same-sex divorce, please don’t hesitate to contact an adept Ocean County Divorce Attorney who can help guide you through this complex legal process.  

What Are the Legal Considerations for Same-Sex Divorce?

If you tied the knot in a legal same-sex marriage state before its approval at the federal level, there are a few things you should be aware of if you plan on dissolving your marriage. Before the ratification of marriage equality, obtaining a divorce was challenging for LGBTQ partners. Couples who lived in states that didn’t recognize same-sex marriages were rarely authorized to get a divorce in those states. This is because many couples ventured to same-sex-friendly states to get married. As such, they likely do not meet the state’s residency requirements to obtain an official divorce. Typically, couples must prove they resided in the state for six months to be eligible for a divorce in that state.

If the union took place after marriage equality was approved at the federal level, couples may face unique obstacles during property division. While same-sex couples are treated the same as their heterosexual counterparts, there is a significant difference in how property and debts are divided during the dissolution of marriage. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning the couple’s marital assets will be split fairly but not equally. LGBTQ couples who have been together for many years may be treated as though they’ve only been together for those few years that they were legally married. If you were in a relationship for 20 years but were legally married for only three years, the court would only include assets accumulated during those three years of marriage. Therefore, assets accrued before the marriage will not be considered during property division.

For more information about the unique obstacles same-sex couples face during the dissolution of marriage, it’s in your best interest to contact a determined attorney from the Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC. Allow our firm to represent your interests today to maximize your chances of achieving the best possible outcome for your case.