The 2015 Supreme Court ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges made same sex marriage legal in all 50 U.S. States. That ruling also created a new area of family law, which made divorce equality a right.
Washington Same Sex Divorce Lawyers Have Experience
Although the federal ruling on same sex marriage is a fairly recent event, the state of Washington has legally recognized same sex marriages since 2012. In turn, Washington’s same sex divorce lawyers have three additional years of experience in handling these cases. In fact, one of the first cases ever brought before the U.S. courts concerning same sex marriage was filed in Washington back in 1971.
Same sex marriage and divorce laws are still being developed and challenged in the courts. If you’re a same sex couple going through a divorce, you need same sex divorce lawyers with an in-depth knowledge of Washington case law in this area to protect your rights.
New Challenges to Child Custody Laws in Same Sex Divorce
Establishing child custody during a same sex divorce is an area of family law that presents a unique challenge for the family courts.
Before the 2015 law, there was no way for same sex couples to legally decide who received child custody or who paid child support, even in Washington. Today, laws are being established that are creating uniformity for child custody, visitation, division of property, and standards for spousal support for same sex couples.
Same Sex Couples have Equal Protection under Washington State Law
Even when Washington was one of the few states in the nation that allowed same sex marriage, getting a divorce and having marriages recognized were sometimes impossible because most states did not honor those marriages.
Now that same sex marriage —and therefore divorce— is legal nationally, Washington has been able to solidify some of these laws.
Here are some of the ways these changes can impact your divorce as a same sex couple.
Domestic Partnerships are Now Legal Marriages
Back in 2014, all of the same sex marriages established as domestic partnerships in
Washington, or civil unions in other states, were legally converted to marriages for couples who were 62 years old or older.
Civil Unions from Other States are Recognized in Washington
You can now dissolve your marriage in Washington State, no matter what state you were married in.
Residency Can Now be Established for Same Sex Couples
Historically one of the biggest problems for divorcing same sex couples was being able to establish residency. When it comes to custody and the division of assets, residency is one of the main factors that judges use to decide fair resolutions.
For example, you were married in Washington then relocated to Montana— a state that did not recognize same sex marriage. If you tried to divorce in Montana, you would have needed to establish residency in Washington—or one of the other few states where same sex marriage was legal— for a minimum of six months before you could divorce.
Establishing Paternity in Same Sex Custody Cases
Many of the custody cases being decided in Washington for same sex couples are using adoption law to establish paternity. Some states allow for more than two legal guardians. These laws are still being shaped in Washington.
Know Your Rights in a Same Sex Divorce
Precedence is being set right now with every case brought before the courts. You need to know your rights, and you need a same sex divorce lawyer you can trust with a thorough understanding of current family law for same sex couples.