If you thought that the fight for same-sex marriage was difficult, now that same-sex marriage has been legalized in New York and several other states, until it is recognized by the federal government, there are going to be many complications—the most important one being divorce.

New York State’s law, for example, allows same-sex marriage not just for residents but for people who live out-of-state.  Because most states do not recognize same-sex marriage, they won’t recognize same-sex divorce either.  New York’s same-sex marriage law does not require residency to wed, but it does require residency of at least 90 days to obtain a divorce.  Same-sex couples will find a very different experience than that of heterosexual couples.

Division of property may not cover “premarital contributions” to things like real estate even where the couple lived together for years before being able to marry; and married same-sex couples are not entitled to any federal spousal marriage benefits (social security, military, federal tax/estate tax, health insurance and survivor benefits for federal workers).  Also there will not be a way to enforce spousal “maintenance” if that is part of the divorce if their legal residence is in a state that doesn’t recognize divorce.  And, some parenting rights may disappear.

Inconsistent laws will make same-sex divorce difficult to say the least.

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