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Scottsdale/Phoenix Divorce, Family Law & Civil Litigation Law Blog

Monday, February 2, 2015

Divorce for Same Sex Couples

Is There Same Sex Divorce in Arizona?

In October a federal judge struck down Arizona's ban on gay marriage and now same sex marriages are legally recognized in the state. U.S. District Judge John Sedwick’s decision barred enforcement of a 1996 state law and a 2008 voter approved state constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage.

Sedwick’s decision was issued after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Arizona) ruled that gay marriage bans in Nevada and Idaho violated equal protection rights guaranteed in the U.S. constitution of same-sex couples. Last October the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear appeals from several states trying unsuccessfully to enforce their bans on same sex marriage.

With same sex marriage becoming legal and recognized in Arizona, same sex married couples have all the rights and obligations to each other, and any children born to the couple, as heterosexual couples, which includes the ability to get a divorce.

Given the decision came down in October and Arizona requires that one party must live in the state for at least 90 days prior to filing for divorce, it may take a while for Arizona’s first same sex divorce case to be filed.

Because this would be new legal territory, many issues need to be worked out. Same sex marriages are recognized in 35 states, either due to court decisions or legislation. A same sex couple married in Arizona, but that moves to one of the 15 states where the marriage is not recognized, may need to move again to a state that does recognize these marriages and establish residency before filing for a divorce.

If you are in the Scottsdale, Arizona, area and are thinking about or planning to get divorced, contact the divorce and family law attorneys at Nirenstein Garnice today by calling (480)351-4804 for a consultation.


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