Same-sex divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage between two people of the same sex. Same-sex divorce became possible in Pennsylvania after the state legalized same-sex marriage in 2014, following a federal court ruling that struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. However, there could be some differences between same-sex divorces and opposite-sex divorces.
Are there differences?
Since 2014, same-sex couples who wish to end their marriage have the same rights and obligations as opposite-sex couples under Pennsylvania law. However, same-sex divorce may also present some unique challenges and complexities, depending on the circumstances of each case.
Date of marriage
For some same-sex couples who were married in other states or countries before Pennsylvania recognized same-sex marriage, determining the date of marriage may be difficult. The date of marriage affects various aspects of the divorce, such as the length of the marriage, the division of marital property and the eligibility for spousal support.
Division of marital property
Pennsylvania does not divide marital property equally. Instead, it does it based on what the family court judge believes is fair and just. However, for some same-sex couples who cohabitated or shared finances before getting married, distinguishing between marital and non-marital property may be complicated. Additionally, some types of property, such as retirement accounts or pensions, may have different rules or tax implications for same-sex couples.
Custody and support of children
Pennsylvania law recognizes the parental rights and responsibilities of both spouses in a same-sex marriage, regardless of their biological or adoptive relationship to the children. However, for some same-sex couples who had children before getting married or through assisted reproductive technology, establishing or proving parentage may be necessary. Moreover, issues related to child custody and support, such as relocation, visitation or modification, may require additional consideration or negotiation for same-sex parents. This is why if you are considering a same-sex divorce in Pennsylvania, it is important to be aware of your rights and options to protect your interests.