same-sex divorce

Same-sex marriage issues: No divorce for transgendered man

Massachusetts readers may remember media coverage of the ‘pregnant man’ that made the rounds a few years ago. The individual in question is a transgendered man who has been legally married to a woman since 2003. When his wife was unable to become pregnant, he made the decision to carry the couple’s three children. The marriage faltered in recent years, however, leading both spouses to seek a divorce. Their desire to divorce has proved troublesome. This is due to the fact that while they were legally married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, they later relocated to one that does not. As a result, their divorce has encountered a number of legal challenges, and has seemingly stalled out following a recent hearing on the matter. An Arizona judge recently ruled that the couple cannot be divorced in that state, due to the fact that there is state ban on gay marriage. In making that decision, the judge heard evidence that the man in question underwent testosterone treatments as well as elective surgery to transform himself into a man. However, the judge ruled that the man did not make any subsequent non-surgical efforts, and halted hormone therapy at some point prior to the hearing. As this case demonstrates, same-sex couples often have to negotiate legal processes that are far more complicated than those that heterosexual couples may encounter, in Massachusetts and elsewhere. When a gay or transgendered couple relocates to a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage, significant legal

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Same-sex couples face divorce challenges

Divorce can be a daunting prospect, no matter the gender of the spouses. However, when same-sex couples in Massachusetts decide to divorce, they face a set of challenges that heterosexual couples do not. Chief among these are concerns that arise when a same-sex couple resides in a state in which their marriage is not legally recognized. In such cases, spouses are left with little choice in regard to filing for divorce. In some cases they are able to return to the state in which they were married and complete the divorce process there. There is also the possibility of filing for divorce in the state of residence, then waiting to see how the court will handle that action. However, these options presume that both spouses are willing to work together to reach an amicable end to their marriage. When one spouse does not want to ease the process, additional legal issues can arise. One example lies in a challenge by one spouse in regard to jurisdiction. Such a legal challenge could put the brakes on a divorce filing, making it incredibly difficult and expensive for all involved. As the Supreme Court hears two landmark cases on gay marriage, many are advocating for equal rights to divorce. The American social landscape is changing, and more and more states are acknowledging the rights of gay couples to wed and establish a legal family. It is essential that the law in Massachusetts and elsewhere keep pace with such changes, and address these and

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Financial prep when a gay marriage turns into a divorce

When a same-sex couple in Massachusetts encounters marital difficulties, the process of ending a marriage is no different than that for a heterosexual couple. There are a number of measures that spouses should take if they believe that their union is on the rocks, no matter what their gender. With proper planning, an individual can greatly offset many of the negative ramifications of divorce, leaving them better-equipped to move forward in their single life. One basic preparation strategy involves keeping good records. This includes collecting and copying all tax returns and credit card statements, as well as income documentation for both spouses. Having good records can make it easier to approach a court for spousal support or child support. Another savvy means of preparing for the worst involves setting aside some savings to weather the period between filing for divorce and coming to terms on a final settlement. Having enough cash on hand to cover basic living expenses is important, and can make a huge difference in one’s stress level as the process moves forward. In addition, it may also be a good idea to pay down existing debt before filing for divorce. When it seems likely that divorce is on the horizon, gay spouses in Massachusetts should ensure that they are as prepared as possible for the coming months. The steps suggested here are not solely beneficial to the divorce process, but are also good tips that any couple can take advantage of. If the marriage stabilizes, having done

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Same-sex couple struggles to divorce, hits legal roadblock

Virtually all of America has become embroiled in the debate over the rights of same-sex couples to marry. When considering the issue, the focus is on the rights of people who love one another to form legally binding family units that share the same rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples. It is often forgotten that other legal rights are also connected to the right to marry in Massachusetts, namely, the right to divorce. When a same-sex marriage is solidified in one state, and the couple chooses to reside in a different state, the divorce process can become complicated. That is because states that do not recognize same-sex marriages have no legal basis to issue same-sex divorces. This scenario is currently being played out in a widely covered divorce case involving a transgendered man and his wife. The couple made the news previously due to the fact that the husband, who has undergone hormone therapy and has had his driver’s license changed to reflect his status as a male, made the decision to give birth to the couple’s three children. Multiple television appearances and a book deal followed. When the couple decided to divorce, they encountered difficulty when the family court judge raised questions about the nature of their marriage. At issue in the case is whether the husband is to be legally considered a man or a woman. The issue is further clouded, at least in the mind of the judge, by the fact that the husband has gestated three children

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Same-sex couple’s divorce paves way for gay marriage rights

While Massachusetts is a notable exception, most states do not recognize same-sex marriages to be valid. Instead, they often insist that marriage should only be between a man and a woman and impose various legal restrictions to keep it that way. For many same-sex couples living outside of Massachusetts as well as other states that allow gay marriage, this can be a huge source of frustration. Same-sex couples who reside in states who do not recognize their marriage have been caught up in a marital discord limbo while fighting for their rights to divorce. However, there are indications that many states are recognizing the downside to these limitations and are beginning to permit the dissolution of same-sex marriages. Some states are beginning to allow same-sex couples many of the same rights and privileges as the more traditional marriages surrounding issues such as child custody and divorce, among others. States who do not recognize same-sex marriages argue that if they permit a same-sex divorce, by default they are acknowledging the legitimacy of the marriage. In recent news, Maryland’s Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that if a same-sex couple resides in the state and was legally married in another jurisdiction, they can receive a divorce in Maryland. For many supporters of gay marriage, this change is regarded as a victory. After all, they argue that before gay marriage can be legalized for any state, gay marriages must be recognized as valid. They feel that divorce is one way in which a state

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Why divorce for Boston’s same-sex couples is both more and less complicated

Massachusetts is one of the few states in the U.S. that allows same-sex marriage. Regardless of how you feel about that, it is true that allowing same-sex couples to marry can greatly simplify some legal aspects of their lives together. One of those aspects is the end of the relationship, be that by divorce or the death of one of the partners. Take the case of two men from Minnesota. Although the partners of 25 years were married in San Francisco, Minnesota did not recognize their union. So when one of the men died unexpectedly at 46 without a will, the state’s default estate plan meant that his partner did not have legal standing the same way a wife would and thus did not automatically inherit anything. The surviving partner is now locked in a prolonged and complicated court battle in an attempt to recover what he believes should be his. Although such a scenario would not play out in Massachusetts, that doesn’t mean we have all legal elements relating to same-sex marriage smoothed out completely. If a same-sex couple wants to get a divorce, it can be trickier than a divorce for a heterosexual couple for several reasons. For example, because gay men and women were not allowed to marry in our state for so long, many couples have been unmarried partners for a long time, which makes their marriages look artificially short. That has implications for things like property division and spousal support. Finding an attorney who understands

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