With the recent Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage, I have to believe: More same sex marriage will lead to more same sex divorce. In this week’s Love Essentially, published yesterday in Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press, I explore what the ruling means for divorce, and possible ways to cope.
Gay Marriage Ruling Brings Gay Divorce Questions To Mind by Jackie Pilossoph
Hearing about the Supreme Court’s ruling last week to make same-sex marriage a right nationwide got me thinking.
While I loved seeing reaction photos in the news – the huge smiles, the excitement, the cheers, the expressions of hope – one very negative word is lurking in the back of my mind: divorce.
I don’t say that because I’m a pessimistic person or because I’m trying to ruin anyone’s newfound joy, but rather because the reality is, more marriages almost certainly will lead to more divorces.
Meighan Harmon is a divorce attorney and senior partner at Chicago law firm Schiller DuCanto & Fleck. I asked Harmon what the Supreme Court’s decision meant for divorce from a legal standpoint.
“The complexity and lack of clarity on how same-sex marriages are treated state by state is now gone,” said Harmon, who has been a divorce attorney for 19 years. “In other words, the recent Supreme Court ruling helps make divorce possible for same-sex couples who might move to a state that previously didn’t acknowledge same-sex marriage.”
Harmon said the likely outcome is that many of those states will have legislation going forward either accepting the right for gay marriage or at a minimum acknowledging same-sex marriages that occur in other states.
“You are no longer going to have a situation where someone is in legal no mans land should they want to get divorced,” she said.
I’m divorced, and what I can say to any couple, same-sex or not, is that divorce is an incredibly tragic, difficult and painful experience. Divorce not only hits you from a legal standpoint, but can devastate finances, impact children in a negative way, and worst of all, tear at your gut emotionally, leaving incredibly deep scars that really never heal completely.
Am I saying that divorced people don’t end up happy? Absolutely not. I can honestly say that I feel fulfilled, happy and at peace with my life. I’ll even go so far as to use the word blissful! But, it took a long time to get here.
Nine years ago, when I was going through my divorce, here were some thoughts that were going through my head:
• I am going broke.
• How am I going to get a full-time job when I’ve been out of the workforce for 11 years? I should never have given up my lucrative career to be a stay-at-home mom.
• Why do I feel like I’m at war with the man I promised to love until death do us part?
• My kids are going to cry and tell me they miss daddy every day for the rest of their lives.
• My ex is going to live happily ever after with his new girlfriend and I’m going to end up alone.
• I feel lonely and isolated.
• I’m old, flabby, and badly in need of Botox.
That was rock bottom. But I have to say, as bad as it got, it didn’t take long to start feeling better. Even in the first few months, things started getting easier.
To what do I credit the quick improvement? Click here to read the rest of the article, published yesterday in Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press.