Same-sex couples in Orange County, California, can legally marry, given that California is one of the 13 states that allows gay marriages. Now that the Defense of Marriage Act has been reformed, same-sex spouses can also enjoy certain federal and tax benefits to which heterosexual spouses are entitled. However, when a same-sex spouse decides to divorce, the situation may not be as easy as heterosexual divorce.
A gay divorce often comes with legal and financial challenges. According to sources, the difficulties may arise when the same-sex spouse moves to a state that bans gay marriages or unions. Basically, states that do not allow same-sex marriages may not grant the couple a divorce. Same-sex divorce can also be treated differently, depending on the state's laws.
There are also financial disadvantages that may arise in a same-sex divorce, particularly in splitting the marital assets and property rights.
For that reason, experts note that such drawbacks, in the event of a same-sex divorce, can be prevented through a prenuptial agreement. Typically, a prenuptial agreement may safeguard one spouse's assets from the division of marital assets and property in divorce. It may also distinguish the financial and other responsibilities of spouses during a marriage.
These advantages may also work with same-sex spouses as well, given that every state, including California, recognizes such an agreement. With a prenuptial agreement, same-sex couples may settle ancillary issues and financial matters as well. In a prenuptial agreement, same-sex couples may specifically detail who owns what and who will get certain assets and property in the event of a divorce. The asset protection, which a prenuptial agreement can provide, may be essential for gay couples with a substantial amount of assets.
Nobody wants their marriage to end in divorce. However, at times, divorce seems to be inevitable and having a prenuptial agreement, which may protect a California spouse from financial pitfalls and legal challenges, seems significant. With a prenuptial agreement, ending a marriage can be smoother and less stressful.
Source: NBC News, "Gay divorce: It may not be as easy as the marriage," Judith Messina, Oct. 16, 2013