While Las Vegas may have a reputation of being an easy place to get married, some couples are finding themselves in a tough spot when it comes to divorce, as this piece in Las Vegas’ CBS local outlet reports. Same-sex couples are getting stuck in a legal limbo when it comes to divorce in Nevada, and while Las Vegas divorce lawyers representing them have precedent to fall back on, no actual governing statues exist to guide their cases.
Same-sex couples are in similar situations across the nation, as bans on gay-marriage are coming in to question and being struck down (and then appealed) across America. Nevada is one such state that currently doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, and the resulting quandary for same-sex couples who are Nevada residents who want to get divorced is clear: they can’t, theoretically. But 8News NOW reports that divorces between same-sex couples have indeed taken place in Nevada, the first being in April 2012, and the poignant video footage it published reminds us that no matter who you are married to or whether you’re a man or a woman: divorce is divorce – a painful end to a family bond that once held promise but is no longer tenable.
So, what’s a Nevada judge to do? The Las Vegas divorce lawyer representing that first gay couple’s divorce made the same argument, saying, “I need to be able to have their differences adjudicated…it’s like any other couple. It’s the end of a relationship.” The judge hearing the case in April of 2012 drove home her own dilemma in response: “I don’t have jurisdiction.” Gay marriage in Nevada is not legally recognized, and the women married in her case obtained a license in California.
Las Vegas divorce lawyers face a tricky situation for same-sex couples having been married out-of-state. Most states’ divorce requirements still hold that the couple must be residents of that state from six months to a year to obtain a divorce ruling. For some couples, the expense and disruption to their life would be out of the question. Many couples seeking closure in ending their relationship, dividing their property and sorting out custody of their kids are blocked from doing so.
But the court system in Nevada says that legally, none of that matters—it is the law on the books that counts…or so we thought. Two weeks after hearing the case brought to her bench by the Las Vegas divorce lawyers for the gay couple in April of 2012, the judge arrived at a surprising decision. She ruled that not allowing the couple to get divorced violated their constitutional rights, making the decree one of the first known same-sex divorces in Clark County. Las Vegas’ local CBS news researches did “an exhaustive search” of the divorce decrees over the last few years and report that at least six other gay divorces could be confirmed in Nevada. This could give same-sex couples hope and attorneys legal precedent to fall back on, even while same-sex marriage remains an issue fraught with discord across the US.