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Same-Sex Marriage…and Divorce

Katie Flowers Samler | May 2, 2016

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made a landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that the Fourteenth Amendment: (1) requires each State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and (2) requires each State to recognize same sex marriages, when the marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of State.

Prior to Obergefell, some states recognized same-sex marriage and some did not. This created havoc in family courts and frequently left same-sex couples in limbo. For instance, prior to Obergefell, a couple legally married in one state (that recognized same-sex marriage) who later wanted to pursue a divorce, frequently could not locate a court to legally grant their divorce or divide marital assets because they may have resided in a state that did not recognize same-sex marriage at the time of divorce.

Since the Obergefell opinion was issued, States are now required to not only issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples desiring to marry, but are also required to recognize out of state, same sex marriages. This means that same sex couples who live in Dallas but were married out of state may now be represented by a Dallas divorce attorney (provided jurisdictional requirements are met and the marriage was lawfully licensed).

A copy of the Supreme Court opinion in Obergefell can be found here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf

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