For a lot of older same-sex couples, the right to legally marry was supposed to be the key to their “happily ever after.” Unfortunately, all marriages are subject to stressors and failures. However, there’s some additional pain and stigma associated with same-sex divorce for many of these couples.
If you’re contemplating a divorce from your same-sex spouse, here are some unique issues that may apply to your divorce:
1. A smaller support network
A lot of same-sex couples have a relatively small network of friends in the first place. When they divorce, they may find that network strained. Some friends may simply disappear for a while, rather than “take sides.” Some may see your divorce as a tragedy and a disappointment, given the struggle same-sex couples have had for the right to marry.
Still others — especially family members — may react as if your breakup was no more significant than the breakup of a casual relationship because they still don’t mentally equate same-sex marriages with heterosexual marriages. That can make finding the emotional support you need problematic.
2. A question of legalities
Your marriage may not be the only thing that you have to end. Many older same-sex couples — seeking whatever legal protections they could for their relationship — obtained domestic partnerships before they could wed.
Unless those domestic partnerships were converted by state law, couples who have them have to seek to end those in addition to their marriages.
3. Issues with support
The date of your marriage could be years after the date you entered a committed relationship with your spouse. That’s a big deal when it comes to spousal support.
Dependent spouses in long-term marriages typically receive more support for a longer time so you may need to do some work to show the court that your relationship should have been considered a marriage long before it was legal.
No matter what your situation, get help with your same-sex divorce. The sooner you take proactive steps toward a fair resolution, the sooner you’ll be able to move forward with your life.