According to Americans for Divorce Reform, it’s estimated that between forty and fifty percent of all marriages will end in divorce. Currently, there are six states in this country that allow same sex marriages – Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, Iowa and the District of Columbia. What happens when a same sex couple seeks to dissolve their marriage, especially if they now live in a state that doesn’t recognize their marriage as legal?
Maryland’s Court of Appeals will be making that decision after hearing arguments last week for a lesbian couple who were denied a divorce by a Maryland judge based on the fact that the women’s marriage was not legal in that state. According to ABC News, Jessica Port and Virginia Ann Cowan were married in California, in 2008, during a brief period of time when gay marriage was legal there. In 2010, they filed for divorce in Maryland, where Port lives, because Maryland has no express prohibition banning the recognition of same-sex marriages from other states.
In recent years, judges in states including Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas have denied gay couples divorces. In response to those denials, California and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing gay couples married in their jurisdictions to divorce there if their own home states will not dissolve the marriage. But Maryland appears inconsistent in granting or denying same-sex divorces. CBS News reports that judges have granted about a half a dozen divorces for gay couples, but Port and Cowan, and at least one other couple were recently denied that.
It typically takes the appeals court anywhere from three to six months after oral arguments to issue a ruling. No matter what your circumstances, if you and your spouse have made the decision to divorce, contact an experienced Naperville divorce lawyer to help navigate you through what can be a complicated legal process.