First Openly Gay Bishop Files for Divorce

Posted by Steven D. Eversole | May 24, 2014 | 0 Comments

With gay marriage on the rise, it is not surprising that there are also a growing number of gay divorces. A gay bishop has announced that he is getting a divorce from his husband. The Episcopal bishop was the first openly gay bishop. The couple had been together for 25 years and announced the divorce to the Diocese and in a newspaper column published in The Daily Beast. According to Alabama Public Radio, the couple were joined in a civil union in 2008 and married in 2010.

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Same-sex couples, like any heterosexual couple, will face the same life challenges. Unfortunately, divorce can become more complicated for same-sex couples if they move to a state that does not recognize marriage, as has been the case in Alabama. Our Birmingham divorce lawyers are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients and are abreast of the legal issues that impact the citizens of Alabama. Whether married or in a civil union, our legal team is experienced and prepared to protect your rights in the separation or divorce process.

In addition to finding a proper location for divorce, gay couples can face a host of other legal challenges. For one thing, courts have struggled to find a consensus on many of the legal questions involving divorce. Even as the Supreme Court has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, same sex marriage is only legal in 13 states. Many couples who want to divorce have also been together for years longer than they were ever married. This can be a complicated issue as courts only see the relationship as starting from the day of marriage. Prior to civil marriage, many couples had already raised children, merged their finances, and established beneficiaries to pensions and life insurance policies.

Gay divorce requires couples to find a state that will perform the divorce which will often have a residency requirement. This means that couples have to move to that state for 6 months before they can file for divorce. In some states, the decision to grant a divorce can be up to a court. For all divorcing couples, it is important to consult with an experienced advocate with requisite experience to ensure legal and financial security on behalf of their client. In addition to court fees, the travel expenses, and processing of documents can be expensive. Estimates indicate that same-sex couples have to pay twice as much for their divorce. This can triple when the couple has children.

According to reports, the bishop came out after his divorce from his wife in 1986. He has acknowledged on numerous occasions that the public scrutiny of his sexual orientation took a toll throughout the marriage. As the bishop reflected in his column, “Love can endure, even if a marriage cannot. It will take a lot of work, a lot of grieving, and a large measure of hope to see it through.” He also acknowledged that “life is hard” and that the stresses can impact a relationship, regardless of your age. A decade ago, his election was very controversial among conservative members of the church. Four years ago, he admitted to a drinking problem and was admitted to treatment for alcoholism.

If you are seeking a divorce in Birmingham, contact Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.

About the Author

Steven D. Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama


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