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Setback for Maryland same-sex marriage - divorce can be expensive

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That didn't take long. As the excitement about the legalization of same-sex marriage in Maryland begins to die down, new issues are popping to the forefront. Hundreds of couples may have rushed to the courthouse as soon as they had the chance to formally legalize their relationship, but now, like a word association game show, comes the next stage: I say "marriage" - you say "divorce."

Most of our Maryland readers probably expected the development before too long. After all, ask anyone in a man-on-the-street interview and they'll probably say that the divorce rate in the country is at about 50 percent. Whether this is true or not is debatable, but the fact of the matter is that divorce does happen, and it was bound to happen with same-sex couples the same as it does with heterosexual couples. Same-sex couples are discovering that they too must deal with the myriad of issues that come up in a divorce, such as child support, child custody and property division.

As it turns out though, same-sex couples may face an additional hurdle in the pursuit of a divorce: added cost. Because there are still many different state laws on the issue, and many states do not recognize same-sex marriage and many have flat-out changed their state constitution's to reflect that fact, this area of the law is in the developmental stage. As such, it is taking attorneys and courts longer to apply new laws to traditional notions of marriage and divorce, which can end up costing the same-sex couple more in attorney fees.

Although an equitable division of property may be something that a divorcing same-sex couple can agree on, it appears that they might want to work hard to come to a settlement on other issues as well. The legalization of same-sex marriage was a victory for many people, but it seems the proponents should still expect some more bumps in the road.

Source: CNNMoney, "The high cost of same-sex divorce," Blake Ellis, May 13, 2013

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