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Same-sex divorcees face additional hurdles when dividing assets

Same-sex couples have enjoyed the same right to marriage as opposite-sex couples in Indiana for years now. While that brings with it a lot of freedom, it also leads to same-sex divorce cases. In some situations, these couples could face hurdles that other couples would not.

For instance, take the property division process. It happens with every divorce. A married couple splits up their assets so that both take a share away from the marriage.

However, since same-sex couples have been allowed to marry for far less time, that naturally means that many where living together in committed relationships far before they could legally wed. Are assets acquired during that time marital assets or separate property?

For instance, imagine that a couple got together in 2004. They got a house, bought furniture, bought cars, shared their income and invested for retirement. These are all the normal things that a married couple would do, but they did not officially get married until 2014, when it became legal.

For an opposite-sex couple that married in 2004, those assets are clearly marital property. Can the same be said for a same-sex couple that married in 2014? What if one person had a much higher income and technically purchased most of those big ticket items, albeit with the idea that they'd be shared?

As you can see, these cases can get very complicated. Divorce laws were set up to handle the marriage laws that were on the books at the time, but changes in those laws have brought new questions to the forefront for same-sex couples. It's important that anyone getting divorced knows his or her legal rights.

Source: Time, "Start Preparing for Same-Sex Divorce," Lili A. Vasileff, accessed March 08, 2018

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