With the relatively new federal recognition of same sex marriage, the data is just now coming to light regarding their rates of divorce, relative happiness, cohabitation rates and methods of parenting with a partner. Same sex couples have only been federally recognized since 2015. Therefore, there is little data on the stability of these unions. However, some facts are useful and applicable in determining the issues these couples face in the courts. Acknowledging the data, and being well informed of the changes in society is one way our Florida Divorce Attorneys distinguish ourselves from other firms. We want to know the statistical reasons and be aware of what elements might be specifically affecting the clients that come to us for assistance.
After the land mark Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court case, the country expected a severe influx in marriages. However, there was no discussion of the possible divorces that may result. When in fact, in 2017, only 10.2% of same sex couples engaged in the institution of marriage. Jones, Jefferey, In U.S., 10.2% of LGBTQ+ Adults Now Married to Same-Sex Spouse (2017). While only 6.6% reported to remain simply cohabitating with their same sex partner. Id. However, for those who did engage in the act of marriage, studies show they may have a leg up on their heterosexual counterparts as they are divorcing at half the rate. Even prior to federal recognition of same sex marriage, same sex couples had a lower dissolution rate than heterosexual couples. M.V. Lee Badgett & Jody L. Herman, Patterns of Relationship Recognition by Same Sex Couples in the United States, International Handbook on the Demography of Sexuality International Handbooks of Population 331-362 (2013). Breaking down the data further, researchers found there was a difference between the rate of dissolution between lesbian couples and gay couples. Multiple studies found that lesbian couples have a higher rate of dissolution than their gay counterparts. One study found that a lesbian couple was actually twice as likely to divorce than a similarly situated gay couple.
With such a drastic difference in dissolution rates, it was important for researchers to dive deeper into the dynamic contrast between theses relationships. They found that the factor most likely affecting the longevity of the relationship is the fighting style of the differing couples. John Gottman, performed a study comparing the interactions between same sex and heterosexual couples. “He and his colleagues found that gay and lesbian partners brought up relationship problems more lightly and received such comments less defensively than straight couples. Same-sex pairs were also more likely to use humor and affection in their interactions and to be less physiologically aroused in the face of conflict.” Miller, Anna Same sex Couples: A model for straight pairs? (2013)
With conflict being such a large factor in any divorce it is important to understand how a couple may handle conflict. For instance, in the divorce process if you are a same sex couple and fall within the reported statistics, you may be more inclined to use collaborative methods to reach an agreement. Therefore, your Florida Divorce Attorney can encourage certain alternative dispute resolutions to save you time and money in your divorce. Of course, statistics do not ring true to every couple and you will be able to discuss your unique situation with your attorney regarding your family and dissolution.
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