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Why same-sex divorce can be complicated

Same-sex couples in Maryland and elsewhere won the right to marry in all 50 states thanks to a 2015 Supreme Court ruling. However, they may face unique challenges when it comes time to get divorced. This is because many same-sex couples who are married today have been in relationships long before they were able to tie the knot. That fact could complicate matters such as deciding who gets spousal support or how to divide marital property.

Typically, the length of a marriage plays a role in how much a spouse who may have limited income or assets receives in a divorce settlement. To remedy this, some courts may choose to add years to the relationship if a couple was together before they got married. However, there is no guarantee that a court will do this. Therefore, those with fewer means could be put in a tough situation if they choose to litigate.

One option to help same-sex couples create an equitable divorce settlement is to end their marriage through mediation. In addition to giving an individual greater control over the process of settling the divorce, it could cost less. This may convince an individual to opt for mediation even if it may not be his or her first choice.

Issues related to property division or spousal support may be common in a divorce. An attorney could help an individual obtain a larger share of marital property or alimony to maintain his or her lifestyle after a marriage ends. This may be done by using financial records to show that the client will struggle without help from a former spouse. If applicable, a prenuptial agreement might play a role in determining what a person is entitled to.

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