Divorce in a Same-Sex Marriage

By Michael J. Clonts, Esq.

To introduce the topic of same-sex marriage in the State of Arizona, it’s helpful to start with a brief history:

  • 1975 – Legislation defines marriage to be between a man and a woman
  • 1996 – Legislation disallows recognition of same sex marriage
  • 2008 – Voters pass an amendment to the Arizona Constitution defining marriage to be between a man and a woman
  • 2014 – U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (the federal courts that include Arizona) determines that state bans on same sex marriage amount to gender discrimination by denying equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
  • 2015 – Same sex marriage becomes legal and recognized in all 50 States under the U.S. Supreme Court Case Obergefell v. Hodges – effectively overturning all existing Arizona state law on the matter

Today, the legal system makes no distinction between same-sex marriages and marriages between opposite-sex spouses. That means a divorcing same-sex couple will legislate the same types of issues as those of a “traditional” divorcing couple, such as:

  • Spousal Support
  • Division of Assets
  • Child Custody and Parenting Time
  • Child Support
  • Domestic Violence and Orders of Protection

Although Arizona has come a long way in reaching equality for all of its citizens with respect to marriage, there are some lingering issues unique to same-sex divorce that are not fully resolved as it has only been recently that such unions have been legally recognized here.

Follow us every Friday through this month’s blogs as we delve into the issues and obstacles that arise when pursuing a divorce with a same-sex spouse. We will also discuss parenting rights in a same sex divorce, adoption, and domestic partnerships and civil unions.

If you find yourself, a friend or a loved one in need of a lawyer to assist with same-sex divorce and you would like to work with one of our experienced Attorneys, please call OWENS & PERKINS at (480) 630-2464 to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.

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