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Same-sex divorce: it's complicated

Same-sex couples are often in the news for the equal marriage rights that so many desire. Society seems to be warming up to the idea of homosexuals getting married, but many forget that marriage is not always a storybook romance. Relationships change and spouses separate, which, in Columbus, Ohio, often results in divorce, which can instigate a same-sex custody matter.

So what happens when a same-sex couple decides to divorce?

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, the dissolution of a same-sex couple depends on point of entry for the relationship. While some states allow for gay marriage, others only allow for legal unions. Still, there are other states, such as Ohio, that do not permit same-sex marriage or civil unions, and the different laws in each state mean different legal recognition for the couple.

This means that the dissolution is often complicated. While studies show that reasons for same-sex dissolution are comparable to those of opposite-sex dissolutions, this comparability does not translate to the legal processes involved. Still, there are societal pressures that opposite-sex couples do not have to cope with as a couple, including the stigma that is still present surrounding homosexuality, and this can cause dissolution to occur.

In addition to these societal pressures, legal ambiguity for same-sex divorces leaves many couples either confused or without power when it comes to dividing assets and determining child custody. In-vitro fertilization and the roles of a biological parent versus a non-related parent often cause custody determinations for same-sex couples to become quite contentious. Many experts believe that divorce laws should be updated so that the dissolution of a same-sex couple can go as smoothly as that of an opposite-sex couple.

Source: Huffington Post, "What About Divorce Among Same-Sex Couples?" Robert Hughes, Jr., July 10, 2012

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