If Gays Are Legally Married & Then Split Up, Will They Have to Go Through a Legal Divorce?

by Teo Spengler
Every legal marriage is subject to state divorce laws.

Every legal marriage is subject to state divorce laws.

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Any couple wishing to terminate a legal marriage must travel down the dissolution highway. A married gay couple, like every other couple, can opt for annulment, legal separation or divorce. Different states offer different divorce laws and procedures but they apply with equal force to married couples of any sexual orientation. Married gay couples who live in states that do not permit gay marriage would do best to consult an attorney.

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Annulment

Most states allow married couples a variety of options to ending their union. Annulment is a procedure that essentially erases the marriage as if it had never occurred. It is available when a marriage was premised on fraud. Incestuous or bigamous marriages can also be annulled.

Legal Separation or Divorce

A spouse ready to leave a marriage can obtain a divorce without the other spouse's consent. The divorce is generally commenced by filing a petition; property division and child custody issues can be resolved amicably or by the court. Those unable to contemplate divorce for religious or practical reasons can seek and obtain a legal separation. The judgment in a legal separation resolves the same property, support and child custody issues that a divorce judgment addresses.