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"The courts have broad discretion in these matters, and that discretion can go in your favor EdmontonDivorceMediation or not." The 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges meant that all 50 states — 13 of which still banned same-sex marriages — would be required to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry within their own borders and acknowledge marriages that originated in other states. The landmark ruling also delivered marital legal protections afforded to heterosexual marriages, including rights related to medical decisions, certain tax benefits and access to employee benefits. Divorce is more complicated. There are federal regulations that play a role, most of which are tax-related — i.e., the current deductibility of alimony payments and the untaxed transfer of certain retirement assets. But much of how divorce is handled happens at the state level. The biggest sticking point often relates to when the marriage began, which can dictate how assets are divided and whether a spouse receives alimony (also known as spousal support). Generally, the longer any marriage has lasted, the more weight it carries when judges are determining how to award a lower-earning or no-earning spouse a percentage of assets and/or alimony. Yet if a same-sex couple had lived together for 18 years before being allowed to legally marry in 2015 and decides to divorce today, whether that union began two years or two decades ago is not legally clear.

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