Back in 2010, Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actress Jane Lynch was at the height of her fame. She was also in love, and in June of that year she and her girlfriend, a clinical psychologist, were married here in Massachusetts. The couple then registered as domestic partners in California, their main state of residence. To many of her fans’ dismay, however, Lynch announced earlier this summer that she has filed for divorce in California.
A recent article noted a divorce case that has been pending for more than four years. Most divorces happen much quicker than this, but the state in which the couple now resides does not recognize same-sex marriage or divorce, so these two men might be waiting for much longer for the state court to acknowledge their separation.
Not every marriage lasts, and as more and more same-sex couples tie the knot, we are beginning to see the emergence of a relatively new family law phenomenon: gay divorce. In states like Massachusetts, where gay marriage is recognized, divorcing same-sex couples will have to face the many issues that come with a legal separation. But because of the current status of the law, same-sex divorce is unique in a few respects that make it more difficult on the partners.
A recent court ruling from another state may be of interest to same-sex Massachusetts couples considering divorce. The ruling will allow for that state to recognize and perform same-sex divorces, even though the state will not allow same-sex marriages to take place there until January of next year.
Massachusetts is one of a handful of states to recognize same-sex marriage. Although same-sex marriage has only been on the books for a few years, same-sex couples here and across the country are encountering some of the issues common to all married relationships when couples decide to divorce. Although some couples have resisted it, others are considering whether to create a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot.
In our last post, we discussed the potential for federal laws like the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to play a role in Massachusetts divorce proceedings. That law has been at the forefront of the debate regarding same-sex marriages and divorces. Recent federal court rulings are challenging the validity of the law, declaring it to be unconstitutional.
In 2004, Massachusetts led the way in recognizing same-sex marriage equality. The issue has been in the news recently as other states have passed and considered similar laws. But couples in our state may not be aware of the complicating effect that certain laws may have on various aspects of their relationship, including divorce.
Divorce attempts to resolve many matters between spouses and among family members. When spouses are parents, child custody becomes an important part of divorce proceedings. Recently, a child custody case involving a divorced same-sex couple required the Massachusetts Appeals Court to decide the scope of a particular law.