Same Sex Divorce
On Friday, June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision ruling gay and lesbian couples have a constitutionally protected right to marry and that states must recognize those marriages. This ruling enforces the legality of same-sex marriage nationwide.
Prior to the ruling thirteen states had still denied same sex marriage.
With this ruling same-sex couples now have the same rights as opposite-sex couples. Same sex couples can now marry and divorce.
Factors to consider when seeking a same sex divorce
- Custody. If there are children involved determining custody and visitation in a same sex divorce can be a challenge. Issues of biological parent vs non-biological parent may possibly be a factor.
- Length of the Marriage. Some issues in divorce, such as spousal support, take into consideration the length of marriage as a determining factor. This could present a problem to same sex couples that have been in a committed relationship for many years prior to the marriage.
Because each state's laws are different, and many factors can affect the process it is important to find an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in handling same sex legal issues.
Recent Legal Developments in Marriage Equality Laws
- June 26, 2015 - The U.S. Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage.
- Jan. 6, 2015 - Florida’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage ends statewide.
- Dec. 19, 2014 - The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to block gay marriages in Florida. Marriages are set to begin Jan. 5, the day a stay, which had been ordered by a lower court judge who overturned the state’s same-sex marriage ban, expires.
- Nov. 25, 2014 - U.S. District Judge Kristin Baker strikes down Arkansas’ gay marriage ban. She puts her ruling on hold.
- Nov. 25, 2014 - U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves strikes down Mississippi’s gay marriage ban. He immediately puts his ruling on hold. Reeves wrote, “The 14th Amendment operates to remove the blinders of inequality from our eyes. Though we cherish our traditional values, they must give way to constitutional wisdom.”
- Nov. 20, 2014 - In a 7-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court denies a last-minute request for a stay of rulings allowing same-sex marriages. The denial clears the way for officials in South Carolina to begin issuing marriage licenses.
- Nov. 19, 2014 - A federal judge strikes down Montana’s ban on same-sex marriage. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris rules that the ban violates the equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment. The court’s ruling is effective immediately.
- Nov. 12, 2014 - The U.S. Supreme Court ends a Nov. 10 stay that temporarily prevented Kansas from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The state insists the ruling applies to only two counties, Douglas and Sedgwick.
- Nov. 10, 2014 - U. S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor orders a stay that temporarily blocks Kansas from issuing same-sex marriage licenses.
- Nov. 5, 2014 - St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex M. Burlison overturns Missouri’s ban on gay marriage, but only St. Louis begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
- Oct. 21, 2014 - Wyoming Atty. Gen. Peter Michael says the state won’t appeal the U.S. District Court ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples can apply for marriage licenses.
- Oct. 17, 2014 - U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick strikes down Arizona’s gay marriage ban and declines to issue a stay of his ruling. The state’s attorney general directs clerks to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
- Oct. 15, 2014 - County clerks in Idaho begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the week before that same-sex marriage bans violate the rights of gay couples.
- Oct. 12, 2014 - A federal judge issues a ruling allowing gay marriages in Alaska after the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the week before that same-sex marriage bans violate the rights of gay couples.
- Oct. 10, 2014 - A federal District Court judge rules that North Carolina’s ban on gay marriages is unconstitutional, and officials begin issuing marriage licenses.
- Oct. 9, 2014 - Nevada begins issuing marriage licenses after the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declares same-sex marriages legal in the state.
- Oct. 7, 2014 - The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down gay marriage bans in the West, specifically rejecting bans in Idaho and Nevada. The court’s ruling also applies to Alaska, Arizona and Montana. Licenses are not being issued in Arizona and Montana.
- Oct. 6, 2014 - The U.S. Supreme Court turns down all the pending state appeals in the gay-marriage cases, leaving intact rulings in five more states that said gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry. This action means that same-sex marriage is legal now in Utah, Oklahoma, Virgina, Indiana and Wisconsin.
- Oct. 3, 2014 - Jackson County Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs strikes down part of Missouri’s gay marriage ban, ordering the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
- July 1, 2014 - The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday July 1, 2014 expedited the appeal of a federal judge's ruling last week that found Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and has ordered the state to recognize the same-sex marriage of one Hoosier couple - Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney.
- July 1, 2014 - US District Court Judge John G. Heyburn II struck down Kentucky's ban on gay marriage on Tuesday July, 1, 2014 writing "These arguments are not those of serious people." Heyburn stayed the ruling until the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decides gay-marriage cases.
- June 6, 2014 - U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb in Madison, Wisconsin overturned Wisconsin's gay marriage ban, striking down an amendment to the state constitution approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2006.
- May 13, 2014 - U.S. District Magistrate Candy Dale has issued an injunction Tuesday, May 13, 2014 blocking enforcement of Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage, saying it is unconstitutional. U.S. District Magistrate Candy Dale issued the ruling in the case of four same-sex couples who challenged the constitutionality of Idaho's marriage laws, which voters approved as an amendment to the state constitution in 2006.
- May 9, 2014 - Circuit Judge Chris Piazza invalidated the Arkansas ban on same-sex marriage and recognition of marriages legally entered by same-sex couples in other states. An appeal is expected to be filed.
- April 22, 2014 - Presiding Judge Barbara Hanson Nellermore ruled that Texas's 2005 voter-approved marriage discrimination amendment is unconstitutional. The ruling is in response to a same-sex divorce suit that was filed in Bexar County, TX in February 2014. To read the full text click here
- March 25, 2014 - The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals extended a stay on the 3/21/14 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman that struck down the Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage
- March 22, 2014 - Acting on a late Friday request from Michigan's attorney general to stay the ruling by Judge Bernard A. Friedman, the Court of Appeals issued a stay late in the day on Saturday.
- March 21, 2014 - Judge Bernard A. Friedman of Federal District Court, Detroit struck down Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage ruling that denying marriage to gay and lesbian couples is a violation of the Constitution. Soon after, Michigan attorney general, Bill Schuette, filed a notice that the state would make an emergency request to the US Court of Appeals asking for a stay on the ruling.
- March 14, 2014 - U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger, ordered a preliminary injunction prohibiting Tennessee from imposing its law prohibiting recognition of same sex marriages.
- Feb. 26, 2014 - a federal judge ruled Texas' gay marriage ban unconstitutional. Judge Orlando Garcia wrote "Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuges in our U.S. Constitution.” He then stayed his own decision pending appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, leaving same-sex marriage illegal in Texas.
- Feb. 13, 2014
A federal judge ruled Virginia's gay marriage ban unconstitutional. The judge stayed her decision because of the anticipated appeal. Same sex marriage is currently not legal in Virginia.
- Feb. 12, 2014 - a federal judge ruled part of Kentucky's gay marriage ban to be unconstitutional. Kentucky must now recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states. Because that part of the ban was the only section challenged and the only section ruled on gay marriage is not currently legal in Kentucky.
- Jan. 14, 2014 - A federal judge ruled Oklahoma's same sex marriage marriage ban unconstitutional. The Judge stayed his decision because of the anticipated appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver. That is the same court set to hear the Utah appeal.
- Jan. 6, 2014 - US Supreme Court put a stay on Utah's decision that gay marriage ban was unconstitutional pending the state's appeal.
- Dec. 20, 2013 - Same sex marriage became legal in Utah when a federal judge ruled that the state's gay marriage ban was unconstitutional.
The following are links that will help guide you through the divorce process:
Divorce Attorneys - A directory of divorce attorneys listed by state and county.
Divorce Mediators - A directory of divorce mediators listed by state and county.
Divorce Services - A directory of firms offering divorce related services including Family Counselors and Therapists, Divorce Planners, Legal Services, Financial Planners, Accountants and Paralegals.
Free Child Support Calculator - Free child support calculator for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The Collaborative Divorce Process - If you are contemplating a divorce but want to avoid the fault finding, fighting and conflict that is bound to occur in the adversarial system, then this alternative might be for you.
Alimony - Comprehensive guide to the different types of alimony, including the criteria generally used in the determination and amount of alimony, and tax ramifications.
Child Custody - Reviews the different types of child custody. The emotional (for both child and parent) and financial points of view of a custody battle are also discussed including court ordered professional custody evaluations.
Child Support - Guide to understanding child support payments, and the criteria used in determining the amount of payments. It covers the emotional aspects as it relates to visitation and the possible ramifications of non payment.
Frequently Asked Divorce Questions - A state by state list of frequently asked questions with answers supplied by divorce professionals.
Divorce Support Groups - A listing by state of Support Groups that deal with the issues of divorce.
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