Same-sex divorce now possible in Missouri

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Wednesday, June 4, 2014.

The same-sex marriage issue has been taking on more significance in the U.S. for several years now. With many states moving forward with the legalization of same-sex unions, it was only a matter of time before Missouri family law attorneys would have to face a new challenge. That challenge is in the dissolution of same-sex marriages, or divorce.

As one Missouri woman who is attempting to get a divorce from her female spouse recently found out, the first obstacle to overcome is that Missouri still does not recognize same-sex marriage. This couple married in another state. Their will to divorce raises the question of whether it is even possible for same-sex couples to obtain a divorce in this state.

Initially, the woman considered getting a divorce in another state, but that raised a second hurdle: many states have a one-year residency requirement before they will grant a divorce. Leaving Missouri for a year was not an option for this couple.

However, case law in Missouri does arguably contain some precedent for non-traditional divorce in the case of common law marriages from other states, which also are not recognized in this state. Extending that principle to same-sex marriages worked: a judge has now granted the divorce, based on full faith and credit grounds.

As a result of this ruling, a second same-sex couple has also taken advantage of the opportunity to resolve their legal issues regarding divorce. Some are viewing this as another step in the same-sex marriage battle. In other words, if same-sex divorce is possible in Missouri, one may claim, why not same-sex marriage next?

Source: Springfield News-Leader, “Gay divorce locally paves way for Missouri Couples,” Stephen Herzog, May 28, 2014

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