Divorce is a difficult situation for anyone to go through. It signals the end of a relationship that both parties vowed to make last forever. The partnership is over and divorce offers the closure is necessary for the involved parties to move on. When children and child custody issues are involved, though, divorce becomes more complicated. The same goes for same-sex married couples. Not only is it tougher for same-sex couples to marry, as only nine states including the District of Colombia recognize such arrangements, but it is even more complex and complicated for same-sex couples to get divorced.
Each state, including Michigan, individually governs the laws of marriage and divorce. If a state does not recognize same-sex marriage, then it is highly unlikely that it will recognize same-sex divorce. As a result, same-sex couples are struggling in situations where they want to be divorced from their partner. Currently, states that have legalized same-sex marriage allow those couples to get divorced. The problem is couples can only get divorced in states that allow same-sex marriage, whether they live in that state or not. Moreover, there are usually additional residency requirements for divorce, adding to the complexities surrounding same-sex divorces.
The end of a marriage is hard enough without all of these extra obstacles. It seems the only answer to these types of problems is for states to enact legislation that either makes same-sex marriage legal throughout the United States, or to allow same-sex divorce regardless. Nowadays, of course, this is a very politically-charged issue and the Supreme Court will soon be deciding on a same-sex marriage case that may greatly impact all facets of this issue.
For now, it is important for same-sex couples to keep in mind that location is just as crucial to divorce as it is to marriage. Regardless of how laws may change in the future, getting localized advice on how to navigate divorce is essential.
Source: Global Post, “Divorce just as much a hurdle as marriage for US gays”, March 21, 2013