Legal Limbo Created by State Laws Regarding Same-Sex Marriage and Divorce - dummies

Legal Limbo Created by State Laws Regarding Same-Sex Marriage and Divorce

By Carrie Stone, John G. Culhane

As long as states refuse to grant divorces to LGBT couples, gay men and lesbians who were married or entered into a civil union in a legal equality state will continue to be mired in a legal limbo. This uneasy state of affairs raises many questions:

What if a bisexual man marries his same-sex partner in Massachusetts and when visiting his parents in Florida, he meets a woman, falls in love, and marries her?

Is he guilty of bigamy if Florida doesn’t recognize his Massachusetts marriage? If he and his wife travel by train across the country on their honeymoon, will he be married to his partner or his wife as they travel through Iowa, which is a marriage-equality state?

Legal conundrums exist even for couples who are able to get a divorce. Many same-sex couples who marry have lived with their partner for many years before officially tying the knot. In that time they may have accumulated property together.

Because their legal marriage happened long after they first set up house together, their marital property that is subject to equitable division would only entail that which they obtained after they wed. Will courts take into consideration property acquired prior to the legal marriage because that legal status was unavailable?

As more and more couples get married and move to states across the country, current inconsistencies in the law will eventually move the cause of same-sex marriage forward.