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Same-sex divorce: The rules aren't firm

You're an older same-sex couple, and you know that many things have changed in today's world. Since the 2015 Defense of Marriage Act, it's been legal to get married anywhere in the United States.

Sadly, just like heterosexual marriages, same-sex marriages can end in divorce. They're more complicated than heterosexual divorces overall, though, because the rules on how to handle them are still being developed. It's easy to say that these types of divorces are the same, but the two are very different.

If you're separating after a long-term relationship as a same-sex couple, what do you do?

The first thing to do is to find out what your legal status is. Was your domestic partnership automatically converted into a legal marriage upon DOMA? For many people, it was. If not, then you may need to approach your divorce differently, since it may only include assets from 2015 onward.

The trouble with the inconsistency across state lines is that many same-sex couples have been together longer than DOMA has been active. If only their marriage following the 2015 ruling is considered during the divorce, alimony and asset division could both be significantly impacted.

Is it smart to go to trial if you have a same-sex divorce to resolve?

It's better to try alternative methods of dispute resolution such as arbitration or mediation because you'll be able to be fair with one another. There are no guarantees when you go to court since the laws are not yet firm on how to handle same-sex divorces, asset division and other aspects of your case.

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The Law Offices of W. Robert Montgomery

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