Landmark SCOTUS Ruling Affects Same-Sex Divorce

In a historic U.S. Supreme Court decision that inspired many impromptu weddings and even more joyful tears, same-sex couples across the nation were able to have their marriages legally recognized as of June 26, 2015. While this decision has obvious gleeful implications for those who sought for a means to officially marry their partner, it also paves the way for more somber legal procedures related to marriage. Namely: same-sex divorce in Cleveland, Ohio, and same-sex estate planning agreements.

Thanks to Obergefell v. Hodges, parties who are divorcing or have tragically lost a spouse can now undergo the same legal proceedings to allocate property and execute estate wishes as intended, regardless of their orientation. Anyone tackling these issues can seek out a Cleveland divorce attorney or a family law firm to represent them and proceed toward a mutually favorable outcome that accounts for all the rights and privileges to which any heterosexual couple would be entitled.

Ohio Same-Sex Marriage In The Courtroom

A rich case history forms the background for the now historic climate of same-sex marriage in Ohio. Most importantly, the case Obergefell v. Hodges originated when a married Cincinnati couple fought for the right for their marriage to be recognized on one spouse's death certificate. Although the couple had been married in Maine, the state of Ohio did not recognize the union per the 2004 Defense of Marriage Act and a constitutional voter referendum passed on November 2, 2004. The Supreme Court decision overturned these laws while at the same time opening the path for Obergefell's deceased spouse, John Arthur James, to be declared "married" on his death certificate.

While this recognition may seem like a minor qualification to some, it has huge implications beyond symbolism. For instance, Reverend David Durkit was denied a Social Security lump-sum death benefit from his deceased spouse in 2014 to which he is now entitled as a result of the Supreme Court case. Durkit can also collect surviving spouse benefits once he reaches retirement age.

Similarly, a Columbus, Ohio, couple ran into legal blockades during same-sex divorce proceedings once the judge listed on the case realized that the divorcing spouses were a same-sex couple. The judge had previously granted the request for a divorce since he did not realize that the couple was same-sex after only one spouse appeared at the proceedings. He vacated the decision in December as a result of his professed lack of legal authority over a matter that Ohio did not recognize. However, once the Obergefell v. Hodges decision was made, the couple was able to successfully refile for divorce.

Finding A Same-Sex Cleveland Divorce Attorney

Many family law attorneys are now prepared to handle same-sex divorce and other marriage-related matters in Cleveland, Ohio. With full legal standing and recognition of same-sex marriages comes the right to legally divorce your spouse or allow your spouse to inherit all of his or her entitled benefits following your death. Legal rights such as these are crucial for maintaining and distributing property after a major life event.

Only a highly qualified and experienced Cleveland divorce attorney or family law firm can successfully represent couples or individuals during these major life changes. Whether you want to establish a prenuptial agreement, make estate arrangements in preparation for your death, file for divorce or any other number of legal motions pertaining to marriage, a family law firm such as Laubacher & Co. can be indispensable.

Visit our same-sex family law FAQs or same-sex marriage pages to learn more. You can also speak with one of our attorneys in a free consultation by emailing us or calling 440-462-1882.