As our readers know, a federal court ruling issued last year made same-sex marriage legal in Virginia. The flip-side of this change in the law is that divorce is also now available for same-sex couples in the state who need it.
Still, in the months since this ruling, same-sex divorce in Virginia seems to have been virtually non-existent, according to The Virginia-Pilot. An article on the subject says that a same-sex divorce finalized on Apr. 1 may be the first of its kind in Virginia.
This may not seem like a happy landmark, but for Virginians in same-sex marriages, it is an important legal event. Until recently, same-sex couples were able to get married in other states, then live in Virginia.
But unlike different-sex couples, those in same-sex marriages were unable to divorce if their relationships fell apart. With their relationship is legal limbo, neither spouse could get married again, or obtain legally enforceable orders on property division, child custody and so on.
This was the situation the Virginia couple found themselves in. The spouses married in California in 2004, and separated two years later. Since then, both entered into new relationships and wished to get married again, but could not obtain a divorce in their state of residence.
Nobody is sure, but the evidence suggests that their divorce was the first for a same-sex couple in Virginia. An attorney for one of the former spouses said she could not find any other cases while preparing for court.
As family law changes, it is helpful to have an experienced family law attorney who tracks how those changes affect their clients’ rights and responsibility.