Virginia professor supports law on gay marriage and divorce

On behalf of Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC posted in Divorce on Monday, March 4, 2013.

Nathan Oman, a professor at The College of William and Mary in Virginia, recently presented an interesting perspective on the debate concerning gay marriage. He explained that the reason society should be in favor of gay marriage is to provide same-sex couples with the same benefits of the divorce laws.

Professor Oman believes that one reason marriage exists is to exalt happy family situations. However, he recognizes another reason too. Oman contends that marriage law also exists to help smoothly resolve a divorce case. Put simply, marriage law exists to provide some sort of legal certainty for a couple's finances, property and family situations. He notes that whether or not gay marriage exists, gay people will still enter into relationships and some same-sex couples will inevitably split up. Their breakups can be more easily resolved if they can share in the benefit of the divorce laws.

Virginia has many laws on which couples can rely to resolve disputes that arise during the dissolution of their marriage. For instance, one specific section of the Virginia Code governs the division of a couple's property and debts. The law explains how a court classifies property acquired outside and during marriage. It also sets forth how a court divides a couple's debts.

In many situations, the law is a clear guideline on how property is to be divided. Another specific section of the law explains that the marital share of a personal injury award is jointly owned by a couple. This means that a husband and wife share an equal interest in such an award, and that a court will likely split it evenly between the two of them.

Marriage has many benefits. One that is not so obvious is the divorce law. The law can provide clear solutions at the end of a marriage when emotions are high, and it is not always obvious how to resolve the breakup.

Source: Deseret News, "Whatever your thoughts on marriage, gay divorce is a concern," Nathan B. Oman, Feb. 22, 2013

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