With a number of our neighboring states having already legalized same-sex marriage, notably Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont, the recent decision adding the state of New York to that list is expected to spur a ripple effect throughout the nation. But this is not the only expected byproduct. With a population of roughly 19 million, we have now become the largest state to legalize gay marriage. However in this country, with marriage, inevitably divorce follows closely behind; along with alimony, child support, and maintenance.
With the State of New York now recognizing same-sex marriage, so too will the courts acknowledge their right to divorce. However, what if one marries in New York and then moves to one of the many states which still refuse to recognize the union? While some states, like Maryland, may grant the divorce without needing to legally recognize the marriage, others, such as Texas, may allow neither. No matter what state you marry in, live in, or move to, one thing is for sure: courts everywhere are going to need to adapt to these changes.
And what of the New York property law? In this state, the equal division of a married couple’s property and assets only considers those acquired after marriage. However, as a result of the long and uphill battle towards the legalization of same-sex marriage, some couples have spent 20 years or more together, pooling their incomes, purchases and debts. Will those ‘pre-marital contributions’ count for anything in the eyes of the courts? The law is adapting, and we are going to need to be ready for the logical progression that is certain to follow. For more information contact the attorneys at Bashian & Papantoniou, P.C.