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Changing marriage laws affect divorce laws

In a case with implications for same-sex couples in Washington and across the nation, a federal court decided that Utah's laws that ban same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. Now that same-sex marriage is legal in the state, those same couples can seek a divorce if their relationship doesn't work out. One woman told her story of going to Connecticut in 2010 to legally marry her wife. However, they knew within months that their marriage wouldn't work. One woman stayed in the house while the other found another place to live.

They soon found that divorce was not possible because their marriage wasn't legal in the state. All same-sex couples who wanted to end a marriage had to go through the same procedure, which involved moving to another state that held the marriage as valid, establishing residency there and then filing for a divorce. Relocation away from Utah was too expensive and out of the question. She felt as if she were in limbo and stuck in her situation. While she is happy the laws are changing, she regrets that it took so long and that she had to stay in a relationship she didn't want.

A family lawyer said the new ruling could help people who feel trapped in a marriage. He explained that they should have the right to divorce. He has helped at least one other couple in this situation seek an end to their union. He thinks that some of the same-sex marriages will end in divorce just like any couple who faces marital issues.

With new laws surrounding same-sex marriage, questions can arise when these relationships end. A family lawyer might be able to help clients with the legal aspects of filing for divorce.

Source: Deseret News, "Court ruling on gay marriage opens door to same-sex divorce in Utah", Andrew Adams, January 02, 2014

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