It is becoming more and more common for our Birmingham divorce attorneys to be contacted by same sex couples seeking advice on legal issues related to marriage and divorce.
Currently Alabama does not recognize same sex marriages, even if those marriages were entered into legally in a State that allows same sex couples to marry. Similarly, there are no provisions under Alabama law for divorces for same sex couples. So what does a same sex couple, married in another State but currently living in Alabama do when their relationship breaks down? Our divorce attorneys at Boles Holmes White are closely monitoring this area of the law, and expect future litigation and legislation clarifying the law in Alabama.
After years of marriage in which they accumulate a significant marital estate, what happens when a same sex couple decides to go their separate ways? Who is strapped with the joint debt? Just like traditional male-female couples, many same sex relationships have a primary earner whose salary is primarily responsible for providing for the marriage. Again, just like a traditional marriage, many same sex relationships include a partner that sacrificed personal opportunities to support their spouse. Why should legal same sex marriages not receive the same treatment under Alabama’s divorce laws?
Our domestic relations attorneys at Boles Holmes White have advised same sex couples interested in terminating their marriage to each hire counsel to resolve their differences and their property disputes through a mediation process. While they may not be able to obtain a “divorce”, they can agree to enter into a contract for disposition of their marital property based upon a binding mediation or arbitration in which both parties are represented by divorce counsel.
If you are in a same sex marriage in Alabama, and are seeking advise as to your rights in a divorce, contact our divorce attorneys at Boles Holmes White to let us formulate a solution to protect you.