As of the beginning of August, thirteen US states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage. Colorado is not one of those states, but same-sex couples who are legally wed in another state may move to Colorado and then seek a divorce. The fact that some states won’t allow for same-sex divorce is just one of the many costly complications that has arisen since the first state-approved same-sex marriage in 2004.
While a traditional heterosexual divorce in New York state costs in the neighborhood of $10,000, a newly-divorced gay woman in that state says that her divorce cost $120,000. As the number of same-sex married couples grows, the number seeking divorce will also grow. The legal community will develop knowledge and statutes will be written addressing the issues of same-sex divorces. In the meantime, some of the same gay pioneers who lead the charge for same-sex marriage are breaking new ground in the field of same-sex divorce.
Typically in a divorce, accumulated property is divided from the point that the couple was married. Because gay couples were not allowed to marry until recently, many lived together and established relationships and common property that goes back many years. In other cases, the couple lived together as registered domestic partners before they were allowed to marry, and this might need to be taken into consideration.
Seeking a divorce is often an emotional, legal and financial endeavor. Now, some of the same couples who were not allowed to wed legally are finding that it might not be so easy to obtain a divorce. An attorney who is trained in the areas of family law involving same-sex couples may be able to assist persons seeking unprecedented divorces from their spouses.
Source: CNBC, “For gay couples, divorce comes with extra costs“, Eun Kyung Kim, August 06, 2013