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Divorce for Gay Couples a Costly and Complicated Process

By Jeffrey Knipmeyer on August 14, 2013

Gay couples have faced great challenges over the years trying to legalize gay marriage in their respective states. The Supreme Court’s decision in June to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act provided a watershed moment for many gay couples who hoped to someday be granted the same privileges as straight couples. Although the battle is far from over for those who seek marriage equality, much progress has been made. However, one surprising new issue has cropped up that adds a whole new layer to the marriage equality debate: divorce.

The Problem of Location

Gay marriage was legalized for the first time in Massachusetts in 2004. Since then, 12 more states and the District of Columbia have done the same. The majority of the United States still does not recognize gay marriage. Consequently, gay couples are often forced to travel to other states, outside of where they work and live, to get married.

Since a couple’s divorce is usually granted by the state of which they are residents, gay couples living in states in which gay marriage is not recognized may not be able to get a divorce. They also can’t simply travel to another state to file the divorce since many states require at least a six-month minimum stay in order to qualify for residential status.

Bogged Down in Bureaucracy

Throughout the history of the United States, marriage was considered a purely heterosexual institution, and the laws and policies were made accordingly. Now that gay marriage is being steadily introduced into the country, the courts and other bureaucratic institutions are playing catch up. This means that gay couples, even in states that recognize gay marriage, may face long and expensive delays during the divorce process. While a heterosexual divorce in New York typically costs around $10,000, a homosexual divorce can cost up to 10 times that amount due to the extra paperwork and the prolonged hire of legal assistance.

Finding Efficient and Inexpensive Solutions

Possessing a great familiarity with laws relating to gay marriage and other family issues, Jeffrey Knipmeyer, a partner in the Chicago LGBT family law firm of Nottage and Ward, can help gay couples find solutions to their legal problems without costing them a fortune. Call (312) 332-2915 for a comprehensive evaluation of your case and your options.

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Posted in: Marriage Rights

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