Same Sex Divorce

by Jill H. Breslau

Every solution brings new problems.  For those states that have legalized same sex marriage, the new concern has to do with divorce: do the same rules apply as for heterosexual married couples?  And what happens when couples marry in a state that recognizes their marriage and then they move somewhere that doesn’t?  If they break up, can they seek legal remedies, such as alimony, property division and child custody in the courts?

In DC, same sex couples can now legally marry.  In Maryland, the attorney general has decided to recognize in Maryland gay marriages that take place elsewhere.

Logic says that if people are married, they should be entitled to the rights and responsibilities inherent in marriage.  But the laws of the states haven’t necessarily followed that reasoning.  Some states refuse to acknowledge same sex marriage and therefore won’t grant a divorce to the couple.  Since almost every state has residency requirements, people may be compelled to relocate, uprooting their lives, changing their jobs, just to end their marriages.