Same-Sex Marriage Decision and its Implications on Family Law

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent momentous decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), same-sex marriage is now protected federally in all 50 states. In effect, the ruling held that the 14th Amendment requires states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.  The Courts’ ruling held that state-level bans on same-sex marriages were unconstitutional. This historic moment followed years of steady momentum from increasing public support and legislation.

The implications of this ruling will impact much more then merely providing same-sex couples with the ability to have their union recognized under the law.  In wake of the ruling, same-sex relationships will have an impact on family law courts throughout the country- by becoming a recognized legal union in all 50 states and undoubtedly contributing to the divorce rates from parties seeking court intervention in marital disputes.

Therefore in addition to seeking the benefits of a marriage license, same sex couples will also be able to seek the reliefs provided through divorce or legal separation. Consequently, same-sex couples can now become embroiled in legal battles over the division of assets in divorce and have a right to seek alimony, whereas unmarried couples may not.