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Divorce of same-sex couples

"Gay divorce" redirects here. For the play, see [[Gay Divorce#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Gay Divorce]].
Legal status of
same-sex relationships


  1. May be registered in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten
  2. Licensed in most counties, but not recognized by the state of Kansas
  3. Licensed in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, and Jackson County
  4. When performed in Mexican states that have legalized same-sex marriage
  5. Only if married when same-sex marriage was legal in the state

*Not yet in effect

LGBT portal

The extension of civil marriage, union, and domestic partnership rights to same-sex couples in various jurisdictions can raise legal issues upon dissolution of these unions that are not experienced by opposite-sex couples, especially if law of their residence or nationality does not have same-sex marriage or partnerships.

Conflict of laws

In jurisdictions where same-sex unions are not possible, also divorce or annulment is often not possible, while general conflict of law rules sometimes exclude divorce in the jurisdiction where the marriage was celebrated.

In some jurisdictions divorce is possible, even if marriage is not possible. They are listed below:

Jurisdiction Comment
Aruba Marriages from the Netherlands only[1]
Israel [2]

United States

Couples in same-sex marriages can generally obtain a divorce only in jurisdictions that recognize same-sex marriages, with some exceptions.[3] Same-sex couples attempting to divorce in Texas, which does not recognize the validity of same-sex marriages, have met with different results and two cases are pending before the Texas Supreme Court.[4][5][6] Two women who had legally married in Massachusetts and moved to Florida are challenging that state's ban on same-sex marriages in order to divorce.[7] The Florida litigants' petition for divorce was dismissed by the trial court, but they are appealing,[8] and the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar has moved to file an amicus brief in favor of the right to divorce by same-sex spouses.[9] The federal government's denial of recognition to same-sex marriages prior to United States v. Windsor meant that prior to 2013, the assets transferred in a divorce settlement were treated as gifts.[10] Same-sex couples in states that deny them access to divorce can end their legal relationship at greater cost by bringing a civil suit.[10]

When Delaware and Minnesota legalized same-sex marriage in May 2013, they gave their respective state courts the authority to conduct divorce proceedings in cases where a same-sex couple married in the state but neither party resides in a state that recognizes their marriage.[11][12]

Divorce rates


In 2009 In Belgium, for 158 men and 213 women a divorce was registered in the civil registry, while for 1133 men and 999 women a marriage was registered (i.e., Lesbian divorce rate = 21%, Gay Male divorce rate = 14%).[13]


As of 1997, the same-sex partnership divorce rate was significantly lower than that of heterosexual couples in Denmark. The vast majority of gay marriages in Denmark are male-male, and only 14 percent of these end in divorce, compared to 23 percent of female marriages. The higher rate for lesbians is consistent with data showing that women initiate most of the heterosexual divorces in Denmark.[14]


In the Netherlands, slightly more marriages between women are recorded than between men: between 2006-2011 on average 690 and 610 per year respectively. The number of same sex divorces is between women much higher than between men: in the same period on average 100 women and 45 men divorced per year (i.e., Lesbian divorce rate = 14%, Gay Male divorce rate = 7%).[15]

Norway and Sweden

A study on short-term same-sex registered partnerships in Norway and Sweden found that divorce rates were 50-167% higher for same-sex couples than opposite-sex marriages, and that unions of lesbians are considerably less stable, or more subject to serious change, than unions of gay men.[16] The authors cited that this may be due to same-sex couples "non-involvement in joint parenthood", "lower exposure to normative pressure about the necessity of life-long unions" as well as differing motivations for getting married.[16]

United Kingdom

The divorce rate of same-sex couples within 29 months of the introduction of legally binding civil partnerships was slightly less than one percent in the United Kingdom.[17] Other sources cite that lesbian divorce rates are twice the rate of gay male divorce.[18][19][20]

United States

As of 2011, for states with available data, the dissolution rates for same-sex couples are slightly lower on average than divorce rates of different-sex couples. The percentage of those same-sex couples who end their legal relationship ranges from 0% to 1.8%, or 1.1% on average across all listed jurisdictions per year, while 2% of married opposite-sex couples divorce annually.[21] Other sources cite that lesbian divorce is twice the rate of gay male divorce.[22][23][24][25] Some studies have shown that lesbian committed relationships do not last as long as gay male committed relationships.[26]

See also


  1. ^ "Case BM9542" (in Dutch). Court of first instance of Aruba. 5 March 2008. Retrieved 18 December 2010. 
  2. ^ Lior, Ilan (3 December 2012). "Court grants divorce to gay couple for first time in Israeli history". Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "Tips on Avoiding Same-Sex Divorce Complications". The Huffington Post. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "No. 11-0024". Supreme Court of Texas Blog. 
  5. ^ "No. 11-0114". Supreme Court of Texas Blog. 
  6. ^ Rozen, Miriam (17 December 2012). "Tex Parte Blog: Lawyer in two same-sex divorce cases awaits Texas Supreme Court decision on petitions for review". Texas Lawyer. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Anton, Leonora (24 March 2014). "Tampa couple's divorce could challenge same-sex marriage ban". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  8. ^ Cordover, Adam (10 May 2014). "Tampa Same Sex Divorce Dismissed by Trial Judge; Parties to Appeal". ABC Family Law Blog. Retrieved 11 May 2014. 
  9. ^ Cordover, Adam (16 August 2014). "Florida Bar Family Law Section Moves to File Brief in Same Sex Divorce Appeal". ABC Family Law Blog. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Ellis, Blake (13 May 2013). "The high cost of same-sex divorce". CNN Money. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "House Bill 75, Sec. 7.". Delaware Legislature. Retrieved 12 May 2013. 
  12. ^ Minnesota Legislature. "Senate File 925, Sec. 7.". Office of the Revisor of Statutes. Retrieved 12 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "Homohuwelijken in dalende lijn en steeds meer scheidingen". Gazet van Antwerpen (in Dutch). 5 June 2011. 
  14. ^ Marian Jones (1 May 1997). "Lessons from a Gay Marriage: Despite stereotypes of gay relationships as short-lived, gay unions highlight the keys to success". Psychology Today. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  15. ^ "Lesbiennes scheiden veel meer dan homo's (Lesbians divorce much more than gays)". (in Dutch). 24 January 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Andersson, Gunnar (February 2006). "The Demographics of Same-Sex 'Marriages' in Norway and Sweden" (PDF). Demography 43 (1): 79–98. doi:10.1353/dem.2006.0001. 
  17. ^ Tony Grew (7 August 2008). "Less than 1% of civil partnerships end in ‘divorce’". Pink News. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  18. ^ "Are Lesbian Marriages Doomed for Failure?". Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  19. ^ "Lesbians Initiate Divorce As Often As Straight Women". Hooking Up Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  20. ^ "UK: Lesbian Couples Twice As Likely As Gay Men To End Civil Partnerships". The Independent. London. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  21. ^ Badgett, M.V. Lee; Herman, Jody L. (November 2011). "Patterns of Relationship Recognition by Same-Sex Couples in the United States" (PDF). The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. 
  22. ^ EJL. "Lesbians More Likely to Divorce Than Gay Guys?". 
  23. ^ "Lesbian Couples More Likely To Divorce". MSN. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  24. ^ "Well Now: Lesbian Marriages End in Divorce More Often than Straight Marriages Do". Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  25. ^ "Stop...Lesbians Twice As Likely To Divorce Than Gay Men". Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  26. ^ "Divorce and Marriage Rates for Same-Sex Couples". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 

Further reading