When the Supreme Court ruled last month that same-sex marriage would be the law of the land, it was indeed a positive step for human rights and the recognition of universal love between two consenting adults. When all the celebrations and political back-and- forth is over, however, there are bound to be real concerns with regard to this largely unregulated legal frontier. If there’s one thing that has been learned about marriage is that it is often immediately followed by divorce – not everybody lives happily ever after.
Alimony is usually calculated based on marriage length and the amount of time one spouse has been financially dependent on the other. The laws have always mentioned spouses, not partners – for obvious reasons. The longest amount of time same sex couples could be legally married in New Jersey is less than two. (Same sex marriage has been legal in New Jersey since the fall of 2013.) Therefore, even if a same-sex couple has been together for 20 years and just recently tied the knot, the time they spent together prior to their marriage is not recognized under current law. This means that same-sex divorcees who have been economically dependent on their spouse for years can wind up being left out in the cold, facing financial hardship once the divorce papers are signed.
There may also be questions regarding the separation of assets, co-habitation, child custody and a slew of other legal matters with which the law has yet to catch up. The bottom line is that if you’re in a same-sex marriage and are filing for divorce, you need an experienced and qualified attorney to help guide you through the process to ensure you get fair and equitable treatment. While the Court has granted equal marrying rights to everyone, many states and municipalities are still bound to fumble with the realities of this new ruling.
For many years, Graziano & Flynn has been helping clients move through their divorces in minimal time and without collateral damage. Contact us today for a free consultation so we can begin to protect your interests regarding spousal support, child custody and more.