Divorce equality has yet to catch up to marriage equality
Just as family law in the state of Utah addresses the commencement of marriages, it accounts for their dissolution as well. However, same-sex marriage is not recognized as legally binding in the state. As a result, many couples are left with few options when it comes to having their relationships validated or dissolved under the law.
As individual states continue to pass legislation on marriage equality, the issue of divorce equality becomes more apparent. A study conducted by a Stanford University professor confirms that same-sex relationships are just as strong, or fragile, as heterosexual relationships. Many would agree that same-sex marriages are just as susceptible to divorce as others too. However, the majority of states that fail to recognize same-sex marriages also fail to grant same-sex divorces.
Gay-rights advocates note that legal processes like divorce mediation safeguard the rights of individuals as they end a committed relationship. Issues like child custody and property division are dealt with through divorce, and legally binding agreements are made. Without the option of divorce, many individuals may be left vulnerable and/or exploited by the legal system, according to proponents of same-sex divorce.
Currently, only 16 states, along with the federal government, acknowledge legal same-sex marriages. As a result, couples that are legally wed in one of the aforementioned 16 states may be protected under federal and state laws unless they live in a state that does not recognize their union. In the event that they live in one of the other 34 states, they may not be granted a divorce.
It’s noted that a legal divorce granted in one of the 16 states might still not be recognized elsewhere, since the original marriage wasn’t acknowledged in the first place. Even so, more and more same-sex divorces are gaining attention and acceptance across the country.