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Same-sex spouses find divorcing tougher than getting married

In our last post, we discussed how it can be difficult for unmarried couples to split up assets -- and determine child custody issues -- because there is no marriage that legally needs to be ended. While same-sex marriage is not legal in Texas, there are many couples who have gotten married in other states where it is or was permitted; some of those couples have now split apart and want to get divorced.

However, this presents a difficult situation. Because same-sex marriage is not recognized in Texas, a same-sex couple would not be able to get divorced here either. This leaves people in a bind: often they cannot simply return to the state where they were married in order to get divorced because of residency requirements. While a state may not require people to live in that state for any amount of time before getting married, states might require a minimum residency requirement in order to get a divorce in that state.

There is a gradual change going on in regard to this issue. Some states are including so-called escape hatches into their legislation exempting same-sex couples from the residency requirement for divorce. However, this may not help couples who are already married and trying to figure out how -- and where -- to end their marriage.

Clarity and consistency may be forthcoming, however. The Supreme Court of the United States is hearing arguments on the legality of same-sex marriage this week; a ruling could standardize the issue across the country.

Source: WBUR-FM, "Same-Sex Couples Battle For Divorce Equality," March 22, 2013

• Our firm assists Dallas-area residents with their property division, divorce and other family law issues. To learn more about our practice, visit our Dallas divorce page.

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