The right of qualified same-sex couples to obtain a marriage license became legal in Massachusetts on May 17, 2004. This means that same-sex couples also have the right to get divorced. The divorce process is largely the same as for heterosexual couples, with the same heightened emotions and stress, but there are also many differences.
Many aspects of divorce as applied to heterosexual couples are the same as homosexual couples, including:
- Child custody, visitation and support
- Property division
With same-sex divorces there are special consideration that to not apply to heterosexual divorce. Property division becomes complicated when one or both spouses have a pension that is governed by federal law. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), does not allow the Federal government to divide federal pensions between same-sex couples. However, the constitutionality of DOMA is in being challenged and may or may not apply to your property division in the future.
Additionally, if a couples lives in another state that does not recognize same-sex marriages and a divorce is desired, the law becomes complicated as to whether Massachusetts has the power to enter a divorce judgment. These cases are very factual dependent and involve an in depth, case-by-case analysis. At Reade & Reade, we can help you through these complicated issues.
Contact Reade & Reade today for your free initial consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. Call (978) 767-8383 or send us an email. We look forward to working with you.