Same Sex Divorce Dilemma

Find out why the legalization of same-sex marriage in some states isn't the happy ending most were looking for; if it's not legal in your home state, you might have a very hard time trying to sort out your divorce.

By April Lopez
Updated: October 14, 2014
divorce news

It is a perfect time to look at another compelling issue now that New York has legalized gay marriage; the problem of same sex divorce.

As we all know, a lot of same sex couples go to states which have legalized same sex marriage or even as far as a Canadian province just to get married. However, what happens if their marriage falls apart? These same sex couples will definitely encounter a lot of problems and unfortunately, not many groups or organizations are looking at this issue.

Quite a number of same sex couples want a divorce and this has become a huge problem, a problem that stresses out the need for marital equality in the United States.

This intricacy coming from a phenomenon called "limping marriages."

Limping marriages happen when couples get married in a jurisdiction which has no gender requirements under the Marriage Act, and goes to another jurisdiction which does not recognize their union.

A limping marriage is being married in one jurisdiction, and not in another. Same sex couples who go to one jurisdiction and marry there are legally married in that jurisdiction. However, they have none of the benefits or similar responsibilities in their home state.

And that is the problem.

Same sex couples do not get in their home state the ability to get a divorce, one of the most significant parts of any marriage.

Divorce is one of the most important elements of marriage. When a marriage is heading for splitsville, couples divorce and follow a system in splitting up assets and establishing custody and support.

But that's not the case for same sex couples.

They have a problem in trying to divide a life built together without the requirements to equally allocate the pieces of that life, because they are in a jurisdiction that does not recognize their marriage.

Spouses are left by their partners without legal protection so they can’t get the support that they need. Children are not protected by the court to make sure that custody arrangements are in their best interest.

Although same sex couples have unfolded some alternative options, these are still legally confusing.

And the most stressful part is that there must be a very close cooperation between the parties. However this is impossible when the spouses are extremely angry or violent.

In the end, one thing is seriously needed. The United States must recognize marital equality.

In the United States, most of the jurisdictions require same sex couples to return to the jurisdiction where they got married so that they can be divorced.

And it's not easy.

In Ontario, Canada, their Divorce Act dictates that at least one of the partners should be a resident of that province. And becoming a resident means staying in that place for one year, leaving their home, career and everything behind.

Additionally, it is unlikely that they can get a job during that time due to Canadian visa requirements. For most people, this is obviously not an option.

Some people want Ontario to do more so that same sex couples are warned about the effects of their limping marriage. However some individuals are doubtful that this will be effective.

Only a few people who go all the way from traveling to another jurisdiction and be legally married believe that their marriage will fall apart and eventually get a divorce.


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July 20, 2011

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