Divorce for same-sex couples could be complicated

The Supreme Court decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act has made global and national news. In Colorado and all over the United States, same-sex couples have been celebrating this monumental victory. One inevitable focus may be on how states will handle divorce cases for those same-sex couples that subsequently elect to dissolve their marriages.

Undoubtedly, there will be an increase of marriages as a result of the news this week. Same-sex couples statistically have lower divorce rates. Nevertheless, one cannot deny there will be some who will want to depart in divorce. Divorce, as unsettling as it may be, it is sometimes the best option.

Even though the Supreme Court ruling is victorious for some, same-sex marriages have not been legalized nationally. Therefore, at least one of the spouses will need to establish residency in a state where the marriage is legally acknowledged to file for a divorce, which could take months in many instances. Reportedly in Atlanta, the cost is estimated between $10,000 to $20,000, but it could be different in the state of Colorado or another state the case is filed. The fees accrued to relocate should also be factored in the cost of the divorce.

Child custody could be another challenging hurdle to clear. Special attention will need to be given to both legal and financial responsibility if the child has not been legally adopted. Furthermore, guidelines for visitation rights for the absent parent will also need to be determined for the well-being of the child.

Although same-sex couples now are able to enjoy the equalities of marriage, they may encounter some complications during the divorce process. Most parties strive to go their separate ways as peacefully as possible. Yet, there are times when the disputes cannot be resolved among the two spouses. In these circumstances, alternative dispute resolution options like mediation or a collaborative divorce may be helpful.

Source: marketwatch.com, "Supreme Court simplifies gay divorce," Quentin Fottrell, June 26, 2013

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