Berman & Asbel, LLP

Same-sex couples and divorce: celebrity break-up

In many cases, same-sex couples in Pennsylvania who seek to end their marriage face the same manner of issues as heterosexual families. For couples who share children, matters of child custody and support usually top the list of divorce priorities. This appears to be the likely focus for a celebrity couple who recently announced their split. The outcome of their unusual case could influence how other states approach matters of same-sex couples and divorce.

Pennsylvania reality television fans may be aware of the split between David Tutera, host of 'My Fair Wedding' and his husband of ten years. The couple married in 2003, and recently contracted with a surrogate to carry twins. The babies are expected to be born in July.

The couple split on New Year's Day. The two are now seeking to end their marriage in their state of residence, which does not recognize same-sex marriage. Tutera's spouse recently came forward with claims that Tutera has an addiction to sex, and frequently hires escorts and prostitutes for the purposes of purchasing sex. He is asking for full custody of the unborn twins.

The divorce aspects of this case could become complicated, due to the fact that the couple now resides in a state that does not recognize the legality of their marriage. The child custody matter may move forward separately, and the court could consider the recent sex addiction allegations when making a determination which partner is better suited to provide for the best interests of the as-of-yet unborn children that the couple planned to share. Pennsylvania couples may find the outcome of interest, especially as the nation struggles to determine how to handle issues involving same-sex couples and divorce when a couple relocates to a state with different views on the matter.

Source: USA Today, "David Tutera refutes sex addiction claims," Ann Oldenburg, May 2, 2013

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