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Same-Sex Marriage, Divorce, and Parentage in 2015

Advocates of same-sex marriage have been pushing for change for years and their efforts were finally realized when, on June 26, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Although Pennsylvania has allowed same-sex couples to marry since May 2014, the ruling was no less exciting and continues to have implications on more than just marriage.

One such area that has been impacted is divorce. Ironic, isn’t it? However, even the strongest same-sex marriages can end in divorce and thousands in Pennsylvania have already chosen to dissolve their union through divorce. One attorney in the state noted that the Supreme Court ruling puts same-sex couples in the same boat as opposite-sex couples when it comes to divorce. The laws surrounding separation for same-sex couples were extremely convoluted, but the June 26 decision simplified divorce greatly.

What about Paternity and Parentage?

Same-sex couples, particularly females, have also struggled to make sense of parental rights and recognition. Isn’t it enough to list one partner as the second mother on the birth certificate? Unfortunately, it is not quite so easy. Most legal professionals encourage women using a sperm donor to proceed with adoption to ensure the most successful outcome.

Although the non-birth mother may be listed as the child’s second parent on the birth certificate, this in no way signifies parentage. Unmarried opposite-sex parents face the same struggle when the father’s name is listed on the birth certificate – it is not conclusive proof of paternity. Thus, having the non-birth mother adopt the child is the best and most certain option for female same-sex couples.

Is Same-Sex Marriage Any Different in Pennsylvania?

The question is a valid one: Did the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage change anything for Pennsylvania? Because the state legalized same-sex marriage a year earlier, things will generally remain the same in this regard.

However, same-sex couples married in Pennsylvania can now take advantage of the fact that their marriage will be legally recognized no matter where they travel. This is comforting, especially as many still do not agree with the Supreme Court’s decision.

You may have questions about one of the above topics or are in need of legal representation for an ongoing matter between you and your spouse. If so, our firm has extensive experience representing LGBT individuals and would be honored to devote our attention to your case.

Contact a Reading divorce attorney from Dolan Ray Law, LLC today to find out more!