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Same-sex divorce in Oklahoma

On the heels of same-sex marriages being made legal in Oklahoma and the rest of the country, some law firms have announced a new focus on same-sex divorce. Nonetheless, recent studies highlight the fact that same-sex divorce is not as frequent as that between heterosexual couples. To understand the rates of same-sex divorce, it is helpful to look at data from The Netherlands, which passed marriage equality in 2001.

The Netherlands' Central Bureau of Statistics found that the overall divorce rate is 36.3 percent. A 2013 survey from the CBS found that same-sex couples have a lower overall rate of divorce than heterosexual couples. In fact, gay male couples have a divorce rate of less than half that number at 15 percent. Female couples have a higher divorce rate at 30 percent, but it is still lower than the rate of divorce for all couples.

According to UCLA researchers, same-sex couples divorce at roughly half the rate of heterosexual couples. Demographics may account for some of the difference since same-sex couples have a higher average level of education and income than straight couples. Both factors have a strong correlation with successful marriages. The Netherlands data suggests that same-sex couples also wait longer to marry than straight couples do. Changing gender norms are also believed to have a positive impact on marital felicity for all couples.

Like straight couples, same-sex couples may face challenges throughout the divorce process. Same-sex couples who are thinking of ending their marriage may benefit from having separate legal representation. Their respective attorneys can endeavor to negotiate a settlement agreement that covers the issues that are applicable to all marriages, such as property division, as well as those that may be unique, such as visitation rights of a non-biological parent.

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