Same-Sex Marriage Means Same-Sex Divorce
Same-sex marriage became legal in Virginia on October 6, 2014 as a result of recent rulings by the Courts. Although it has received little acknowledgement in the press, same-sex divorce also became legal in Virginia as of that same date.
Prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Virginia, a couple in a same-sex relationship in Virginia had to be involved in as many as three separate lawsuits to resolve the issues relating to the breakup of their relationship. It would often require a partition suit in Circuit Court for jointly-owned real estate, a separate suit to recover personal property in General District Court and, if there were children of the relationship, a lawsuit in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court to deal with custody matters.
This complicated process was true even if the parties were legally married in another state and relocated to Virginia.
As a result of the recent Court rulings, any couple that has been legally married in another state now living in Virginia can obtain a divorce in Virginia if they meet the domicile and residency requirements. As part of that divorce proceeding, the Court can make the following decisions:
Property Distribution: The Court can determine what property and debt is marital and separate, and it can divide the marital property and debt of the parties.
Spousal Support: The Court can decide whether or not an award of spousal support is appropriate and, if so, how much and for how long.