3 Major Divorce Complications When Same-sex Marriage Goes Wrong

Same Sex Marriage

Three years ago when the U.S. Supreme Court has legalized the union between same-sex couples in particular states and jurisdictions in the country, (The Washinton Post, 2018). The fact that we’re no longer in the late era, the issues on same-sex marriage is not a surprise anymore. Truth is that either a civil or religious ceremony is performed in 28 countries as of January 2019. These include the following:

Argentina Australia Austria Belgium
Brazil Canada Colombia Costa Rica
Denmark Finland France Germany
Iceland Ireland Luxembourg Malta
Mexico Netherlands New Zealand Norway
Portugal South Africa Spain Sweden
Taiwan United Kingdom United States Uruguay

Some of these states, however, may recognize the same-sex marriage but still look forward to its forthcoming legitimacy in time. Now that more and more nations are supporting the marriage equality campaign, the feeling is surreal for the whole LGBT community.

Nonetheless, situations get a little worse when some couples finally call it quits. While getting married becomes easy, divorcing couples learned that dissolving their marriage is the complicated part. If you’re one of these couples who felt like your marriage suddenly goes wrong, take note of the following major issues that you would encounter when filing for divorce:

1. Length of Marriage and Alimony

When dissolving a same-sex marriage, family lawyers would probably suggest that the duration of marriage plays an important role in property distribution and granting of spousal alimony. However, the legal date of the marriage does not reflect on how long the relationship has lasted.

For example, the couple has been together for two decades already but since same-sex marriage was just recently approved, the legal duration of marriage would only count starting on the date they got married which is technically a year or three. Meaning to say, it’s not yet clear for some states if they will approve to consider the cohabitation or domestic partnership period as part of the marriage duration when it comes to granting of alimonies. The court may go in your favor or may not.

In addition to this, tax issues also appear in spousal alimonies. There is a different approach for same-sex marriage compared to the opposite-sex union. For divorced straight couples, the alimony is tax-deductible to the payer and taxable to the recipient but divorced same-sex couples are not allowed to deduct the alimony payments.         

2. Child Custody

If the same-sex couple has adopted a child or raise the biological child of the other half, certain difficult grounds are also present during the divorce. Only one of the parties can win the child custody regardless if both of them raised the child. A problem may also exist when filing for child custody in some states, especially if both parties are found non-legal parents of the child.  

3. Legal Dissolution

Some couples may have taken the chance of getting married in multiple countries. Sounds sweet but actually a pain in the head when it comes to the separating stage. When these couples decide to cut their marriage, they need to dissolve all the registrations they have from one country to another in order to entirely dissolve the marriage.  

In a different case, some states require a dissolution of two separate legal relationships. So not only the marriage dissolves but also the domestic partnership between same-sex couples. Thus, domestic partners would have to get married until the marriage gets dissolved.

Due to these complications, couples are advised to take the alternative dispute resolution or the Mediation Law. This is a process wherein couples resolve the disputes with a third party called the mediator.  

Author: Sarah Contreras

Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication with expertise in marketing and media management. She currently works as a full-time content contributor for a digital marketing firm. What motivates Sarah to keep writing is her passion of providing information to all readers out there.


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