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Obergfell one year later: how did it affect same-sex divorce?

Obergfell v. Hodges, the 2015 case that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, has celebrated its first anniversary. It is important, however, for Gig Harbor residents to keep in mind the way things were before that ruling.

Prior to that ruling, while certain states did allow same-sex marriage, if a same-sex couple wanted to get divorced in a state that did not permit same-sex marriage, they were often unable to do so. They would need to move to a state that permitted same-sex divorce and establish residency there, a move that was logistically impossible for many.

However, the Obergefell decision made it so that all states must recognize same-sex marriages made both in their state and in other states. This means that, assuming residency requirements are met, same-sex couples can divorce in all states, period.

One issue to keep in mind, though, is domestic partnerships. Prior to Obegfell, many same-sex partners who could not marry were able to enter into a domestic partnership. A domestic partnership gave them many of the same rights that marriage would have. But, not all states recognize domestic partnerships, and if so, may not be able to dissolve them, if they were formed in a different state.

Moreover, some states converted domestic partnerships into marriages. Those in a domestic partnership may need to return to the state where the partnership was formed to establish residency to dissolve the partnership. If the couple was married, they may now seek a divorce in any state across the nation.

As this shows, while Obergfell gave many same-sex couples the same right to marry as opposite-sex couples, there are still some issues same-sex couples may face. If a same-sex couple entered into a domestic partnership prior to Obergfell and has questions about how to dissolve it, they may need to speak to an attorney in the state where the partnership was formed.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Same-Sex Divorce: What You Need to Know," accessed on June 27, 2016

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