Same-sex couples cheered the recent legalization of same-sex marriage, but what not everyone realized is that the advent of same-sex marriage also means the advent of same-sex divorce. Not all marriages work out for the spouses. Today, due to the 2015 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, all same-sex couples are allowed to marry and divorce in all states according to the state’s usual rules of marriage and divorce. Before this ruling, however, there was a confusing patchwork of rules governing same-sex divorce.
The Defense of Marriage Act, enacted in 1996, permitted states not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. This meant that if a same-sex couple married in a state that permitted same-sex marriage, then moved or returned to a state that did not, they probably would not be able to get a divorce in their state of residence.
Many states that permitted same-sex marriages also allowed same-sex couples to divorce in their state. Same-sex spouses that married in the state could return to the state for a divorce. It would be up to state law to determine whether a couple who didn’t marry in the state could divorce in the state. After the Obergefell decision, same-sex divorce was legalized in all states. This is because the decision recognized same-sex couples’ fundamental right to divorce.
Today, Colorado same-sex spouses have the same marital property rights as opposite-sex spouses. Same-sex parents also have custody and visitation rights and the right to receive – or the responsibility to pay – child support. Same-sex spouses can consult Colorado family law attorneys about their divorce issues.