Do you need a lawyer for a same-sex divorce?
The State of Arizona does not require anyone to hire a family law or divorce attorney. If you choose to hire a divorce attorney for your divorce, that is up to you. Hiring a lawyer will cost thousands of dollars more than having another legal professional help you with your divorce. One easy way to save money during a divorce is to hire a certified legal document preparer or paralegal to help you with your divorce.
With LGBTQ Marriage, Unfortunately, Comes Divorce
Since several 2014 rulings in Federal Court, Arizona has finally recognized same-sex marriage.
Luckily, same-sex couples looking to get divorced are awarded protection under the law in Arizona. This means Arizona same-sex couples share the same responsibilities and protections under the law as marriages between a man and a woman. This means that the rights and laws dividing property, assets and debts, as well as custody, parenting time and child support for children, affect same-sex couples in the same way as heterosexual couples. In this same way, at least one party of the same-sex couple must be residing in the state of Arizona for at least 90 days prior to filing for divorce, just as applies to heterosexual divorce.
Arizona is a community property state and property will be divided equitably in most cases, including in divorces between same-sex couples. Various cities in Arizona including Phoenix and Tucson have been issuing domestic partnerships and civil unions between same-sex couples previous to the 2014 law change, however, those do not legally affect the marriage of same-sex couples. The state of Arizona does not require a divorce attorney for same-sex divorce.
If you are looking for help with a same-sex divorce in Arizona, contact us today at (602) 283-3800.
LGBTQ Divorce Cases
Two cases brought to the U.S. District Court ruled in favor of same-sex couples. In the first case, several same-sex couples were seeking to strike down Arizona’s definition of marriage, “between a man and a woman,” as unconstitutional. The second case involved several couples that had been married in other states, and were seeking the same protections as heterosexual couples. Most notably, a widow and a widower were dismayed when they were not listed on their partner’s death certificate!
U.S. District Court Judge John Sedgewick ruled in favor of same-sex couples in both instances, ordering that George Martinez be listed as Fred McQuire’s husband on his death certificate. And while all LGBTQ U.S. citizens have experienced the benefits of marriage since the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Oberfell vs. Hodges, the burdens of marriages weigh on same-sex couples as well.
Divorce is an inevitable part of some marriages. There is certainly less data on divorce rates among same-sex couples, although the Washington Post suggests that same-sex divorce rates are about equal. Additionally, according to the Huffington Post, lesbian marriages are slightly more likely to end in divorce than gay (male) marriages. Certainly these statistics will change in the coming years, as more people take advantage of the recent changes and more data becomes available.
Before the Supreme Court ruling, it was fairly difficult for same-sex couples to get a divorce in Arizona. In 2003, Massachusetts was the the first state to recognize same-sex marriages. However, because of legislation like the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, and the Constitutional Amendment in Arizona in 2008 that defined marriage in Arizona as between a man and a woman, same-sex couples that moved to Arizona could not apply for divorce. In 2013, Delaware and Minnesota agreed to give same-sex couples divorces, even if both parties were not residents in those states. This is very unusual, considering the fact that you have to be a resident of most states to get divorced. Both Minnesota and Delware recognized same-sex marriage on May 12th, 2013.
With these two states as the exception, most people married in states where same-sex marriage was legal found a lot of trouble when attempting to divorce. Assets including retirement funds and custody rights of children could not be
divided up everywhere in the United States until the 2015 Supreme Court ruling.
Child Custody Issues
Some same-sex couples still encounter difficulties when dealing with custody. Unless the child is conceived via sperm donation or in cases of adoption, it is difficult for same-sex couples to have both of their names listed on their child’s birth certificate. This is frustrating because there is no evidence to suggest that homosexual couples make for better or worse parents. It could take years for entirely equal protection under the law. Globally, only 20 other countries currently recognize gay marriage. In addition to specific custody law, some businesses believe they have the right to discriminate against same-sex couples in industries such as wedding planning, photography, or lodging.
This also includes various Clerks of the Court of the United States who wish to discriminate against same-sex couples because of their own personal religious belief. Some, like Kim Davis, would rather sit a jail cell than treat everyone equally. While the fight for equality continues, Affordable Arizona Divorce will continue to help anyone, including all members of our LGBTQ community.
Affordable Family Law welcomes the LGBTQ community and we have helped many same-sex couples achieve their divorce in Arizona.