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Does same-sex divorce fall under standard divorce law?

Although you may never wish to think of separating from your same-sex partner after a joyful Massachusetts marriage, there may come a time when it is best to part ways. But under state and federal law, are same-sex divorces handled differently than opposite-sex divorces, or do they fall under standard legal jurisdiction? What do you need to know when divorcing in the state of Massachusetts?

The defining case that answers that question is the Supreme Court ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges. This was the landmark case that declared that all 50 U.S. states must acknowledge and perform same-sex marriages under the same legal framework as opposite-sex marriages, granting all rights and responsibilities inherent. While this may seem to only cover the right to marry, one part of the right to marry is the right to divorce. That right to a divorce through due process under the law is also extended to same-sex spouses, so yes, legally your same-sex divorce is the same as opposite-sex divorce.

One concern that you and your same-sex spouse may have to take into account, however, is how judges decide on divorce settlements based on the length of the marriage. Many same-sex couples spent years unofficially partnered in a domestic situation similar to marriage before same-sex marriage became legally recognized, and without common law privileges that recognized same-sex partnerships many may have to argue for the validity of the years before legal marriage during the divorce hearings.

This post should be used for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as actionable legal advice.

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