Almost half a million gay couples around the country have married since the U.S. Supreme Court made its landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. Research suggests that same-sex couples divorce at about the same rate as heterosexual couples, which means that almost half of these couples have already divorced or will divorce in the future. This is a delicate legal issue because the rules dealing with same-sex divorce are still evolving in Missouri and elsewhere.
Before the Supreme Court ended the debate about the legality of same-sex marriage, many states allowed gay couples to enter into domestic partnerships or civil unions. If those couples later married and then file for divorce, they may need to dissolve these arrangements as well as their marriages. However, this is not always the case as many states converted domestic relationships to marriages following the Supreme Court decision.
Another issue with gay divorce is the amount of time that couples may have lived together before getting married. In states like Missouri where gay marriage was not permitted, same-sex couples may have lived together for years or even decades before they were legally allowed to marry. This can lead to contentious legal battles as the length of a marriage is a key consideration when determining spousal support.
When presented with thorny legal issues in divorce cases, experienced family law attorneys may advise eschewing traditional litigation in favor of a more cooperative approach. Court battles between divorcing spouses often involve salacious accusations, and they can do great harm to reputations because they take place in public. Civil actions can also be ruinously expensive and the spouses involved can never be completely sure of a successful outcome no matter how strong their cases are. To avoid protracted litigation and lingering animosity, attorneys may suggest pursuing an alternative path such as mediation or collaborative divorce.