INDIANAPOLIS — The lifting of Indiana's ban on same-sex marriages also is removing the legal limbo that gay couples faced seeking divorces after being married in other states.
One woman's petition for divorce from her wife was denied in June by a judge in Indianapolis as the courts struggled with how to handle such requests while Indiana's gay-marriage ban was in effect.
"There's no difference in that regard now," Indianapolis family law attorney Kathy Harmon said. "Since we are now treating these marriages as we treat opposite-sex marriages, their divorces will be treated the same as well."
Some complications could still emerge for same-sex couples who couldn't get married in Indiana but had been living together through a cohabitation agreement on how to divide property if they do separate. They could also face legal troubles if one of the divorcing same-sex partners had a child through adoption or artificial insemination and the other partner didn't do a second-parent adoption, Harmon said.
At least two same-sex divorce cases are pending in Marion County, The Indianapolis Star reported (http://indy.st/1v4dp6D ).
American Family Association of Indiana executive director Micah Clark, who supported the state's gay-marriage ban, said he's not surprised at the filings of same-sex divorce cases.
"Simply saying that the government is approving something doesn't make it more stable," he said.
Same-sex marriage became legal in Indiana on Oct. 6, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided to let stand two federal court rulings that said the state's ban and refusal to recognize such marriages performed elsewhere was unconstitutional.
"Some people want to get married and some people want to get divorced," said Clayton Morgan, an Indianapolis attorney involved in one of the same-sex divorce cases. "Now everybody has the freedom to do what they want."
Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com