Are you wondering about same sex marriage divorce rates? Same sex marriage divorce rates in the United States are actually decreasing even though the rate of same sex marriage is on the rise. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2018 there 2,132,853 marriages and 782,038 divorces. This is equal to a national divorce rate of about 2% of all marriages. According to a limited study done by UCLA School of Law Williams Institute in 2014, same sex divorce rates are actually slightly lower than for that of heterosexual couples (1-1.6% of same sex marriages).Colored graph stating “same sex divorce rates.”


Same sex marriage divorce rates may be slightly lower than heterosexual divorce rates, but same sex couples face unique challenges. The divorce rate among same sex couples may be driven by stressors that minorities face in general such as employment discrimination or unaccepting families of origin. These stressors can destabilize LGBTQ relationships. A later book on LGBTQ Divorce by the Williams Institute states that LGBTQ people often report lower family support than heterosexual people, which can impact relationship stability.


The same sex marriage divorce rates seems to have less to do with general divorce issues than it does with the unique stressors faced by LGBTQ couples. In New Jersey especially, same sex divorce rates from a legal standpoint occurs in the exact same manner as a divorce for straight couples. All of the marriage laws concerning alimony, equitable distribution, custody, parenting time, and child support apply equally to LGBTQ couples. There are some legal nuances for LGBTQ couples when it comes to adopting a partner’s natural child and when LGBTQ couples initially enter into a domestic partnership, civil union, then formal marriage. Therefore, it is important to seek the guidance of experienced family lawyers when same sex couples seek to divorce.




Same sex couples will enjoy all rights pertaining to support like alimony and child support. In New Jersey, we determine alimony based on the following factors:

  1.  The actual need and ability of the parties to pay;
  2. The duration of the marriage or civil union;
  3. The age, physical and emotional health of the parties;
  4. The standard of living established in the marriage or civil union and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living, with neither party having a greater entitlement to that standard of living than the other;
  5. The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties;
  6. The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance;
  7. The parental responsibilities for the children;
  8. The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, the availability of the training and employment, and the opportunity for future acquisitions of capital assets and income;
  9. The history of the financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage or civil union by each party including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities;
  10. The equitable distribution of property ordered and any payouts on equitable distribution, directly or indirectly, out of current income, to the extent this consideration is reasonable, just and fair;
  11. The income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party;
  12. The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a non-taxable payment;
  13. The nature, amount, and length of pendente lite support paid, if any; and
  14. Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.




For the division of assets and debts, same sex couples will be governed by the same statute as heterosexual couples. The factors we will consider in dividing assets and debts are:


  1.     The duration of the marriage;
  2.     The age, physical and emotional health of the parties;
  3.     The income or property brought to the marriage by each party;
  4.     The standard of living during the marriage;
  5.     Any written agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage concerning an arrangement of property division;
  6.     The economic circumstances of each party at the time the division of property becomes effective;
  7.     The income and earning capacity of each party, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market, custodial responsibilities for children, and the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party to become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage;
  8.     The contribution by each party to the education, training or earning power of the other;
  9.     The contribution of each party to the acquisition, dissipation, preservation, depreciation or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property, as well as the contribution of a party as a homemaker;
  10. The tax consequences of the proposed distribution to each party;
  11. The present value of the property;
  12. The need of a parent who has physical custody of a child to own or occupy the marital residence and to use or own the household effects;
  13. The debts and liabilities of the parties;
  14. The need for creation, now or in the future, of a trust fund to secure reasonably foreseeable medical or educational costs for a spouse or children;
  15. The extent to which a party deferred achieving their career goals; and
  16. Any other factor which the court may deem relevant.


The attorneys at DeTorres & DeGeorge Family Law are experienced when it comes to same sex marriage divorce rates, and here to help you. If you are in a same sex marriage and have questions about same sex marriage divorce rates and the divorce process, give us a call today. 

Rosanne S. DeTorres
Ms. DeTorres is the managing partner and co-founder of DeTorres & DeGeorge Family Law. She is also only one of 150 attorneys in the State of NJ that is certified by the NJ Supreme Court as a Matrimonial Law Attorney. Ms. DeTorres graduated...
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