Is it legal for Gay people to get Married in Wisconsin?
Same-sex marriage in Wisconsin
Wisconsin recognized the rights of same-sex couples to marry on October 6th, 2014. In June of 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to same sex marriage between two-consenting adults. As a result, “gay marriage” is now legally recognized by all U.S. states. A couple of any sex that receives a marriage license in the state of Wisconsin, can be assured that their marriage will be recognized as legal throughout the country and afford the couple the same rights regardless of gender or sexual preference.
Prior to the Supreme Court ruling, Wisconsin Domestic partnership laws, established in 2009 by former Governor Jim Doyle, contributed to the strength of same-sex couples throughout the state. These laws allowed same-sex partners to register for many of the same benefits provided to married couples.
Although limited, these laws formerly recognized the valid legal rights of same-sex couples as a form of civil union, and provided many more protections than most states, progressive or otherwise. A prior challenge to the domestic partnership laws contributed to the foundation of Wisconsin's same-sex marriage act.
Additionally, Wisconsin same-sex couples should be entitled to the same legal processes governing traditional marriages in the state, including divorce. However, given the lengthy and disjointed legal acceptance of gay marriage, some issues remain unresolved. While these issues don't directly impact happily married couples in the LGBTQ community, they could become problematic in for both parties in divorce process.
While certainly not affecting every same-sex divorce, it is likely that the current ambiguity of the laws will have to be addressed to best protect the rights of every Wisconsin resident. For instance, it is currently unclear whether marriages taking place before Wisconsin legally recognized same-sex marriages will be recognized as having started on the date of actual marriage or the date of legality.
This has specific repercussions on spousal maintenance (alimony) judgements which are directly tied to the length of the marriage per Wisconsin Law. More troubling still, there are currently no clear indications for how the courts will handle custody for children of same-sex couples.
Divorce is never easy, and although the uncertainties hovering around same-sex divorce have yet to be fully resolved, you should not stay in an unreconcilable relationship. An experienced family-law attorney or mediator can help you find the best path, help you move forward, and provide you with a safe place to discuss your options and the support you need to feel confident for the future.
References: Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court Case
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