Minnesota’s First Same-Sex Divorce

One August 1, dozens of joyous same-sex couples flocked to the altar in Minnesota as the state first began to recognize equal marriage rights. Less than a week later, another milestone was realized in Minnesota: the filing of the state's first ever same-sex divorce.

Law not only permits same-sex marriage, but also recognizes those performed elsewhere

If you are getting distressed over the thought of a weeklong marriage, you can breathe a sigh of relief: the individual who filed for Minnesota's first same-sex divorce has actually been married since 2004. The woman was married to her wife in Canada, where same-sex marriage has long been recognized.

However, while the couple's relationship had broken down three years ago and the couple has been living apartment, the pair could not dissolve their legal union because the State of Minnesota did not recognize their marriage. Minnesota's gay marriage law not only allows same-sex partners to marry in the state, but also recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other states or countries. With this recognition came the ability for same-sex couples married in other jurisdictions to seek a divorce through the Minnesota courts.

Now, the woman who filed the state's first same-sex divorce is hoping to move on and marry her new partner once the divorce is finalized.

Same-sex couples can turn to the legal system to resolve family issues

Same-sex divorce can encompass all of the issues that come up when straight couples end their marriages. Spousal maintenance/alimony, property division, child custody and child support can all be contested issues when a same-sex couple wants to end their marriage.

The state's first same-sex divorce is a reminder that while equality in marriage is a great victory for Minnesota's same-sex couples, along with the joys of marriage come the risks and the possible need to turn to the legal system for resolutions when a formalized relationship breaks down. Same-sex couples who are now getting married (or now getting divorced) should keep this important consideration in mind.

For example, couples often do not give much thought to executing a prenuptial agreement before getting married, and same-sex couples eager to formalize their relationship under the brand new law may be particularly susceptible to hastiness. Yet, putting a prenuptial agreement in place is a good idea for most couples; even those without significant assets can avoid a great deal of hassle and expense in divorce by having some sort of prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place. With their right to marry restricted for so many years, same-sex couples in Minnesota are understandably excited to get to the courthouse or the church and tie the knot. But, that should not cause then to neglect to take proper precautions.

By all means, same-sex couples should revel in the full array of family law rights they can now enjoy under Minnesota law. With help from a Minnesota family law attorney, same-sex couples can turn to the legal system for help with resolving marriage and family issues in the most desirable way possible, just like everyone else.