With the advent of same sex marriage in Muskogee, Oklahoma and the United States comes same sex divorce. Many same sex couples lived together for many years before marriage became a legal option for them.
Like heterosexual couples, same sex couples can drift apart, whether married or not. If married, they must go through the same divorce proceedings as heterosexual couples.
In order to file for divorce in Muskogee, Oklahoma, the residency requirement must be met, the petition for divorce filed and served upon the other party, and the grounds for divorce must be clearly stated. Oklahoma allows divorce for irreconcilable differences.
Issues in Same Sex Divorces
One of the major issues that same sex couples face when divorcing is that the date of their marriage may not accurately reflect the length of their “married” state. Many of these couples have lived together and held themselves out as a couple for many years.
Common law marriage may remain an open question for these couples. They purchased property, had children, and commingled finances. In every way, they acted as married couples in a common law relationship.
It is not clear whether courts will recognize common law same sex marriage as existing before courts recognized same sex marriage. This leaves questions of alimony and the division of property up in the air, making the divorce more problematic when couples cannot reach an agreement on these issues.
Just like in a common law marriage, marital property may look different in a same sex couple’s divorce.
Say a couple lives together for 18 years, marries for two years, and then seeks a divorce. It is likely that during their 18 years of cohabitation, much of the accumulated property was actually purchased with commingled funds.
In a traditional divorce, all property obtained before the marriage would be considered to be separate property, which can lead to an unfair outcome for some of these couples.
Courts, which often have a great deal of discretion in these matters, can help correct the problems with alimony and property division. However, not all courts are so inclined. Furthermore, not all courts will recognize the union as a common law marriage during the time the couple was unable to marry legally.
In addition, parenting and custody issues tend to be more complex in some same sex divorces.
Before same sex couples gained the legal right to marry, often one of the parents either bore or adopted a child — leaving the other parent with no legal parental rights. This can complicate custody issues upon divorce, often leaving one of the parents without the right to visitation or custody.
Mediation Can Help
Mediation can be an effective tool for same sex divorces if the parties are on the same page with regard to most or all of the issues facing them.
When a couple has carved out a life before marriage equality, they can proactively handle the issues facing them through mediation until courts catch up with the issues these couples face. Reaching a settlement agreement through mediation allows a same sex couple to retain more control over their divorce proceeding.
If you have questions or concern regarding the issues you will face in a same sex divorce, let us help. Your Muskogee divorce attorney can provide the answers you need.
Confidential Consultation: Muskogee Divorce Attorney
If you’re considering all of your options at the moment and need to know how best to handle the issues you will face, call an experienced Muskogee divorce attorney today at (918) 913-0725 or toll-free at (888) 447-7262 (Wirth Law).
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