Same Sex and LGBT Q Divorce in PA

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Only a few short years ago, the Supreme Court held that same-sex couples have the right to marry, striking down state laws that banned same-sex marriage.

Prior to this landmark ruling, many same-sex couples entered into civil unions. A civil union is a partnership that resembles a marriage, but lacks the legal protection that marriage affords. For example, unlike a marriage, states are not required to recognize out-of-state civil unions. However, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has held that out-of-state civil unions create the functional equivalent of marriage for purposes of dissolution under the Pennsylvania Divorce Code. So, what does this mean? Same-sex couples who entered a civil union in another state may get divorced in Pennsylvania.

In fact, any same-sex couple can get divorced in Pennsylvania as long as at least one of the parties has been a resident of Pennsylvania for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. Whether the parties were married (or entered a civil union) in another state makes no difference. The parties may choose a fault-based divorce or a no-fault divorce. If the parties opt for a no-fault divorce, one party may file unilaterally or the parties may file mutually, which results in a much quicker dissolution.

(For more information on this topic or any topic in divorce, custody, mediation, child support, collaborative law, PFA matters, alimony, or other family law matters, visit or contact Notaro & Associates, PC at 412-281-1988 for a free phone consultation with an attorney. You can also schedule online by clicking here.)