Berman & Asbel, LLP

Issues facing same-sex couples and divorce

The decision to file for divorce can be a difficult landmark in an individual's life. However, when it comes to same-sex couples and divorce, the process can become extremely complicated due to differences in how various states handle gay divorce. Many Pennsylvania couples are uncertain how to proceed, and how to best protect their interests amid shifting social norms.

The Supreme Court is currently considering two significant gay marriage cases, which has dominated news coverage and social debate in recent weeks. However, as couples continue to struggle to win the right to marry, the issue of gay divorce is also worthy of attention. When a couple weds in one state and then tries to divorce in another, serious legal issues can arise, making the process both difficult and expensive for all involved.

One common roadblock occurs when a gay couple weds in one state then moves to another. When a divorce is filed in a state that does not recognize gay marriage, it can be hard to know how to move forward. Also, if one spouse decides to complicate the issue, legal challenges to jurisdiction can further degrade the process. This can become a serious issue when a couple resides in different states or divides time between more than one jurisdiction.

As with all major social change, there is no doubt that the law will catch up to public opinion. It is equally certain that such change will be slow in pace, and that many will be caught up in these and other legal issues in regard to same-sex couples and divorce. For a Pennsylvania couple filing currently, the best course of action is to fully determine one's rights under existing Pennsylvania law.

Source:, "Same-Sex Couples Battle For Divorce Equality," March 22, 2013

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