The History and Future of Same-Sex Divorce

On June 26th, 2015 the case Obergefell v. Hodges came to a 5-4 decision which led to legalization of same-sex marriage across all 50 of the United States, which, in turn, has also led to help improve many lives through same-sex divorce.

Kim Bellware’s Huffington Post article explains the benefits of “divorce equality” through a New Orleans couple. Anna Wellman and Stephanie Baus had flown to Massachusetts to marry, but ran into a problem when they decided that divorce was the best decision for them.

“[Wellman and Baus] couldn’t divorce in their home state since Louisiana didn’t recognize their marriage. Many states, such as Massachusetts, don’t have a residency requirement to get married, but do have one to divorce.”

Divorce is often an unwanted and painful event; however, it can also be full of relief and happiness, a release from a relationship that did not work in the long run.

For Minnesotans this has been a little easier since same-sex marriage was officially recognized in 2013. The bill now includes couples of all sexual orientations and provided provisions for same-sex divorce:

“To file for divorce in Minnesota, at least one part must be living in Minnesota for at least 180 days before starting the divorce case. A same-sex couple may also file for divorce in Minnesota if they got married in Minnesota on or after August 1st, 2013, and each party to the marriage now lives in a state that does not allow the dissolution of the parties’ same-sex marriage.”

This has cleared up many problems for same-sex divorce in Minnesota, but there are still facets to address, including domestic partnerships. Domestic partnerships started in 1991 in Minneapolis, and over time other cities have followed suit, though only “19 Minnesota cities currently have domestic partnership ordinances.” When it comes to a couple wanting to separate from a domestic partnership, depending on the city it could be a divorce procedure or termination with a small fee.

In Kim Bellware’s article, Michael Bialys gave a great example for this. He paints the picture of a same-sex couple who started living together in 2000 and immediately got a domestic partnership in 2009. Then they married in 2012, but decided to divorce in 2015. Bialys states, “That issue hasn’t been addressed… Are you entitled to all of the benefits of marriage retroactively?”

These are just some of the factors that make same-sex divorce a bigger headache than heterosexual divorce. Getting the biggest relief from it all will be to get a divorce attorney who specializes in same-sex divorces as they will know how to best go about your particular case.

For caring and specialized attorneys, contact us.