April 13, 2012 By Paul Wallin

California’s temporary lift of its gay marriage ban several years ago is starting to have some unusual consequences. Same sex couples that were married during that time period are finding it impossible to get a California divorce attorney that is capable of taking on their cases both here and in other states.

The most noteworthy case revolves around a couple who was wed in California but moved to Maryland. Maryland is a state that does not recognize same sex marriages. As such, Maryland courts refused to hear the case when the couple decided that they wanted to call it quits.

The case has been presented to the Maryland Supreme Court and the state’s highest court is considering whether or not to hear the case or not.

While the Maryland ruling will have no effect on how other states handle same sex divorces, it does highlight a larger issue here in California. When Proposition 8 passed in California, once again banning same sex marriages, it created a lot of confusion.

Any couple that had been legally married prior to the passing of Prop 8 is still recognized as a legal marriage by California. Any same sex couple married outside of California (7 states and the District of Columbia allow same sex marriages) retains the marriage rights of whatever state that they were married in with the exception of the word marriage.

Meaning if those California couples who go to other states to get married will have to file for divorce in that same state, as California does not recognize them as married, thus California’s divorce laws don’t apply.

California does have what is called a domestic partnership separation, which is essentially a divorce. Needless to say, the issue of same sex marriage and in turn divorce, just from a legal standpoint, remains an extremely complicated issue.

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