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Complications associated with same-sex divorces

Marriage and divorce are two terms most people are familiar with, and may even know someone who either got married or divorced recently. Lately, the definition of marriage has been in the limelight. Most Michigan residents familiar with the same-sex marriage debate may be aware that ever since the Supreme Court decided to hear a couple of cases regarding the Defense of Marriage Act, twelve states have now legalized same-sex marriages.

In Michigan same-sex marriage is not currently recognized, and there is a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. However, where there is marriage, there may be divorce and same-sex couple may face the same issues and traditional couples in getting a divorce. States vary on the issue of same-sex marriage. Thus, it is important to keep in mind that when a couple marries in one state, and relocates to another state where their marriage is not recognized, they may not be able to get a traditional divorce. The couple may have to work out of court to get a dissolution of their marriage. Such out of court negotiations may get expensive.

In one case, a man ended up paying nearly $12,000 in legal fees for a 50-50 division of property and assets. In another case, a simple division of furniture during a separation cost nearly $6,000. Particularly, in states where same-sex marriages are not recognized, the cost of an out of court settlement can be twice that of a traditional divorce.

Child-custody legal issues can get complicated and expensive. The law surrounding legalization of same-sex marriages is in its infancy stages. Anyone facing issues surrounding marriage and divorce in this context may want to contact an experienced family law attorney to understand how the law directly or indirectly impacts one's specific circumstances and to evaluate affordable options to get a divorce.

Source: CNN Money, "The high cost of same-sex divorce," Blake Ellis, May 13, 2013

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