In the past several decades, there has been controversy over allowing gay couples to marry. Same-sex marriage became legal in Maryland on January 1, 2013. Homosexual couples in the state quickly took advantage of this new freedom and married their long-term partners.
In Maryland, marriage for gay couples is the same as marriage for heterosexual couples. There are no differences. All married couples are awarded the same benefits.
This begs the question: What happens when a same-sex couple no longer wants to be married? Divorce will inevitably happen to some marriages, considering that studies show that same-sex marriages are less stable than heterosexual marriages.
Is the divorce process the same? For the most part, yes, but there are some complications that can arise when same-sex couples decide to divorce. Unless there is a prenuptial agreement in place, there can be some confusion.
Determining child custody and support is not too complicated if a child is born within the marriage. Issues tend to arise when the children are born before the couple is married. If one parent is not named on the birth certificate or adoption paperwork, then a test must be performed to determine who is the de facto parent. This four-part test is performed to determine if the party has played a role in the child’s life and should be considered a parent based on whether or not it would be in the child’s best interests.
In a divorce, property division is based on marital assets. Anything acquired during a marriage is subject to split in a divorce. There can be confusion as to whether or not the property predated the marriage, particularly in cases where property was purchased in one person’s name only, but both parties paid the mortgage.
Alimony is another complicated issue in same-sex divorces. This is because alimony is often based on the length of the marriage. Since Maryland only allowed same-sex marriage in 2013, this limits the length of a marriage before divorce. For example, any couples who married when marriage was legalized and are now divorcing would have only been married six years. Some couples have been married for an even shorter period of time, even though they may have been together and in a relationship for 10, 20 or even 30 years or longer. Basing alimony based solely on the date that the couple was married not only diminishes the relationship, but also diminishes an alimony award.
No matter if your partner is of same sex or the opposite sex, divorce can still be complicated. Make sure you have the right legal help on your side to help you get the best outcome possible.
The Columbia divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. understand the importance of equal rights and will gladly help all clients, regardless of sexual orientation, achieve the outcome they desire. We have two offices to serve you. To schedule a free consultation, fill out the online form or call (410) 774-5987.
7310 Ritchie Highway, Suite 910
Glen Burnie, MD 21061
30 Corporate Center
10440 Little Patuxent Parkway,
Columbia, MD 21044