We hear a lot from family law advocates throughout the nation about the value of same-sex marriage. However, little attention has been paid to same-sex divorce, which is causing a snarl of legal problems in courts throughout the nation. Couples in Pennsylvania are now rushing to the courthouse to get married — thanks to the reversal of the ban on same-sex marriage — but they are also rushing to the courthouse to seek divorces.
Same-sex couples who get married outside their state of residence or who move to a state without same-sex provisions can find themselves in an uncomfortable situation if their relationship sours. Without the infrastructure to support same-sex marriage, many states are unable to recognize same-sex divorce. Property division becomes a nightmare when your state of residence does not recognize your marriage in the first place!
One Pennsylvania couple has officially filed for the first same-sex divorce in Lehigh County. One of the men explained that he thought he was going to have to move to Vermont, where his civil union-turned-marriage was approved, to establish residency and become eligible for a divorce. Left with few options, the man thought he would be stuck in a marriage he no longer wanted. The Allentown man said he is relieved to finally have the right to seek a divorce in his own state.
Same-sex couples deserve the same access to property division and divorce law as everyone else in Pennsylvania. Now, that can truly occur! With the dawn of a new era, many who had been held captive in a dead marriage may be able to finally pursue their family law rights.
Source: The Morning Call, “Couples celebrate the right to divorce” Samantha Marcus, May. 22, 2014