When Massachusettsmade same-sex marriage legal in 2009, Ron Paul (not the politician) and his partner of 18 years traveled from their home in Virginia to the Bay State to tie the knot.
Last February, after four years as a married couple, they split. Now, Paul wants to divorce.
But even though gay marriage is legal in 13 states and the District of Columbia, gay divorce remains a difficult matter and many homosexual couples seeking a legal split may not be able to get one.
In states like Virginia that don’t recognize same-sex marriage, gay couples can’t get a divorce. And to obtain a divorce in Massachusetts, Paul or his erstwhile spouse would need to establish legal residency there.
Thousands of gay couples may face similar difficulties.
Thirty-seven states still don’t recognize and, in some cases, ban same-sex unions. They won’t grant a divorce for a marriage that, by their rules, never happened. Meanwhile, some states where gay marriage is legal may impose onerous requirements for divorces.
“If you’re getting married and have to go out of state, you’d better be sure you’re going to stay married,” said Jennifer Hatch, president of Christopher Street Financial, advisers who cater to same-sex couples. “A contested dissolution is going to be treated very differently depending on where you are and the judges involved.”