Divorce of same-sex couples
|Legal recognition of
† Not yet in effect
The extension of civil marriage, union, and domestic partnership rights to same-sex couples in various jurisdictions can raise legal issues upon dissolution of these unions that are not experienced by opposite-sex couples, especially if law of their residence or nationality does not have same-sex marriage or partnerships.
Conflict of laws
In jurisdictions where same-sex unions are not possible, also divorce or annulment is often not possible, while general conflict of law rules sometimes exclude divorce in the jurisdiction where the marriage was celebrated.
In some jurisdictions divorce is possible, even if marriage is not possible. They are listed below:
|Aruba||Marriages from the Netherlands only|
|Arizona, New Mexico (same-sex marriage is performed in some counties), and Wyoming|||
Couples in same-sex marriages can generally obtain a divorce only in jurisdictions that recognize same-sex marriages, with some exceptions. Same-sex couples attempting to divorce in Texas, which does not recognize the validity of same-sex marriages, have met with different results and two cases are pending before the Texas Supreme Court. The federal government's denial of recognition to same-sex marriages can also impose penalties when assets transferred in a divorce settlement are treated as gifts for federal tax purposes. Same-sex couples in states that deny them access to divorce can end their legal relationship at greater cost by bringing a civil suit. Conversely, some states, including Arizona, New Mexico (same-sex marriage is performed in some counties), and Wyoming do not have same-sex marriage, but do allow divorce proceedings of same sex couples. The same went for Maryland until it legalized same sex marriage in 2013.
When Delaware and Minnesota legalized same-sex marriage in May 2013, they gave their respective state courts the authority to conduct divorce proceedings in cases where a same-sex couple married in the state but neither party resides in a state that recognizes their marriage.
As of 1997, the same-sex partnership divorce rate was significantly lower than that of heterosexual couples in Denmark. The vast majority of gay marriages in Denmark are male-male, and only 14 percent of these end in divorce, compared to 23 percent of female marriages. The higher rate for lesbians is consistent with data showing that women initiate most of the heterosexual divorces in Denmark.
In the Netherlands, slightly more marriages between women are recorded than between men: between 2006-2011 on average 690 and 610 per year respectively. The number of same sex divorces is between women much higher than between men: in the same period on average 100 women and 45 men divorced per year.
Norway and Sweden
A study on short-term same-sex registered partnerships in Norway and Sweden found that divorce rates were 50-167% higher for same-sex couples than opposite-sex marriages, and that unions of lesbians are considerably less stable, or more subject to serious change, than unions of gay men. The authors cited that this may be due to same-sex couples "non-involvement in joint parenthood", "lower exposure to normative pressure about the necessity of life-long unions" as well as differing motivations for getting married.
The divorce rate of same-sex couples within 30 months of the introduction of legally binding civil partnerships was slightly less than one percent in the United Kingdom.
As of 2011, for states with available data, the dissolution rate of same-sex couples is about half that of different-sex couples. The percentage of those same-sex couples who end their legal relationship is 1.1% per year, while 2% of married different-sex couples divorce annually.
- Status of same-sex marriage — status around the world
- Civil solidarity pact — French civil unions, available to same-sex and opposite-sex couples
- Civil union, Domestic partnership — other non-marriage legal unions available to same-sex couples in certain jurisdictions
- Dodge, J. A. (2006). "Same-sex Marriage and Divorce: A Proposal for Child Custody Mediation". Family Court Review, 44(1), 87-103. doi:10.1111/j.1744-1617.2006.00069.x
- April 22, 2012. "Same-Sex Marriage Pros and Cons"
- Goldhaber, O. (2007). "I Want My Mommies: The Cry for Mini-DOMAs to Recognize the Best Interests of the Children of Same-sex couples." Family Court Review, 45(2), 287- 301. doi:10.1111/j.1744-1617.2007.00144.x
- Herman, G. (2012). "Legal Effects of Same-Sex Marriage and Divorce". American Journal Of Family Law, 26(1), 5-6.
- Joslin, C. G. (2011). "Modernizing Divorce Jurisdiction: Same-sex Couples and Minimum Contacts". Boston University Law Review, 91(5), 1669-1721.
- A court’s conundrum: When same-sex partners want to split, Washington Post.
- Smith, Tovia. Gay Divorce A Higher Hurdle Than Marriage. NPR, 20 July 2011. April 22, 2012.
- "case BM9542" (in Dutch). Court of first instance of Aruba. 5 March 2008. Retrieved 18 December 2010..
- Alton Abramowitz (14 April 2013). "Married in New York but Not in Texas". Slate.com. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- "Tips on Avoiding Same-Sex Divorce Complications". Huffington Post. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- No. 11-0024, the Supreme Court of Texas Blog
- No. 11-0114the Supreme Court of Texas Blog
- Rozen, Miriam (December 17, 2012). "Tex Parte Blog: Lawyer in two same-sex divorce cases awaits Texas Supreme Court decision on petitions for review". Texas Lawyer. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
- Ellis, Blake (13 May 2013). "The high cost of same-sex divorce". CNN Money. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
- "Maryland's highest court recognizes same-sex divorce". USA Today. 18 May 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
- House Bill 75, Sec. 7. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
- Senate File 925, Sec. 7. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
- "Homohuwelijken in dalende lijn en steeds meer scheidingen". Gazet van Antwerpen (in Dutch). 5 June 2011.
- Marian Jones (May 1, 1997). "Lessons from a Gay Marriage: Despite stereotypes of gay relationships as short-lived, gay unions highlight the keys to success". Psychology Today. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
- "Lesbiennes scheiden veel meer dan homo's (Lesbians divorce much more than gays)". Nu.nl]] (in Dutch). 24 January 2012).
- Andersson, Gunnar (February 2006). The Demographics of Same-Sex "Marriages" in Norway and Sweden (PDF) 43 (1). Demography. pp. 79–98. Text version.
- Tony Grew (August 7, 2008). "Less than 1% of civil partnerships end in ‘divorce’". Pink News. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
- Badgett, M.V. Lee; Herman, Jody L. (November 2011). Patterns of Relationship Recognition by Same-Sex Couples in the United States (PDF). The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law.