At the forefront of the United States Supreme Court’s June 2015 ruling on the
Obergefell v. Hodges case is the newfound right to marriage for same-sex couples, regardless
of what state they currently live in. The controversy surrounding the
decision erupted immediately. Did it violate states’ rights and
religious freedoms? Did it uphold liberties outlined in the Fourteenth
Amendment? The debate is still going on.
But what few people are considering is how the ruling could have a large
impact on family law as a whole.
Understanding the Changes
More noticeable than any other side-effects of the ruling, same-sex marriage
legalization also ushered in the right for same-sex couples to divorce
in any state. Although it can be seen as a bittersweet victory for the
LGBTQ community, it is a victory all the same. Previously, same-sex couples
that got married in a state that recognized their union, such as California,
but then moved to a state that did not, like Texas, were effectively caught
in that marriage. State boundaries would disallow them from filing for
divorce. If they wanted to dissolve their marriage, they would have to
move back to a state that recognized the legality of their union and then
live there for six months, or even up to two years.
Other family law matters, also usually tied to divorce, are facing possible
changes as well. Child custody rights and child support payments, in particular,
may be going back under the microscope for reevaluation. Traditionally,
the mother in a relationship would be seen with an unspoken but accepted
bias in regards to disputes involving children. However, now that same-sex
couples can marry and divorce as they please, lawmakers will need to address
just what defines a “mother” after all.
Attorney Catherine W. Real understands that the sudden and upcoming changes
in marriage, divorce, and family law can be more than a little confusing.
If you are dealing with a family law matter related to same-sex marriage
or divorce, get the help and legal guidance you need.
Contact her firm today if you would like more information.