Massachusetts divorce filings among same-sex couples

As one of the first states to legalize same-sex marriage, Massachusetts is no stranger to domestic partnership issues. Westborough family law attorneys have expanded the legal services offered to clients over the years to account for these changes in family law and the complexities that can arise.

In the wake of several recent United States Supreme Court decisions involving same-sex marriage, divorce and similar issues among same-sex partnerships have been garnering more attention. A problem for many couples who have been married in states like Massachusetts is getting a divorce once they have moved their residence to a state that does not recognize the legality of a same-sex marriage.

Such was the experience of one woman, who was married in 2008 in Massachusetts and later moved to Rhode Island. The woman separated from her partner in 2011, and just recently was able to get a divorce when Rhode Island changed its laws to recognize gay marriages. Prior to the change in law, the only options for couples in this situation were to either stay married or move to a state that recognizes same-sex unions. A move for the sake of divorce is more tedious than one may realize. Most states have a certain amount of time that must pass in order for a person to establish residency and file for divorce. Massachusetts has a 12-month residency requirement.

The increase in the number of states that recognize same-sex marriages will undoubtedly lead to an increase in the number of same-sex divorce filings. These types of divorces often involve many of the same issues as traditional divorces. Marital property must be divided and a property settlement agreement must be reached. Same-sex couples with children must deal with issues such as child custody, child support and visitation rights. The complexities of a same-sex divorce make it important to have an experienced family law attorney to protect one’s legal rights.

Source: Providence Eyewitness News, “Law also opens door to same-sex divorce,” Walt Buteau, Aug. 1, 2013