Although gay couples here in Washington have enjoyed the right to same-sex marriage since December 2012, many other states are just getting their feet wet. Minnesota is one example, which only recently approved same-sex marriage and allowed the first same-sex marriages to be performed at the beginning of August.
But with this new right to marriage is also coming the right to a divorce as well. It’s something of an ironic contrast, many of our readers would say. While many people are excitedly anticipating tying the knot, others are patiently waiting to end a marriage that may not be recognized.
Such was the case for one Minnesota couple who was recently granted the state’s first same-sex divorce. Like in Washington before same-sex marriage was legal, gay couples in Minnesota were not allowed to file for divorce because the state did not recognize their marriage as being legal. For some gay couples, this has created more problems in the long-run.
For the Minnesota case, one of the partners says that she felt trapped and unable to get away from a relationship that she considered to be a mistake. The couple no longer lived together and had no relationship to speak of; but on paper, they were still married. For them, the legalization of marriage meant the legalization of divorce as well.
But this case brings up many other issues that some of our readers may have already picked up on. The first is: what would have happened to the couple’s assets if one of the spouses had died prior to the dissolution of the marriage and prior to the legalization of gay marriage? Would the surviving spouse have been able to fight for their portion of the deceased’s estate? Also worth considering is whether the state made a link between same-sex marriage laws and those for heterosexual couples. Do the already established divorce laws now apply to gay couples? If not, should couples seek legal aid in order to remedy their issues?
These struggles and questions are relatable to our readers because some of them may have experienced something very similar. For some of these cases, getting the help from an attorney was the only way to receive a fair outcome for their situation and move on with their lives in the end.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Gay Divorce Filed In Minnesota Just One Week After Same-Sex Marriages Recognized,” Aug. 7, 2013