Gay Marriage Is Joyous, but Gay Divorce Is ... Tricky

Couples who split can run into huge legal hassles
By Sarah Whitmire,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2011 10:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – Gay marriage continues to make huge strides in the nation, as is clear across New York state today. Now if only gay divorce could catch up. As NPR explains, same-sex couples who split often run into a world of legal hassles unknown to their hetero counterparts. The problem usually involves two kinds of gay couples: an out-of-state pair who travels to a state where it's legal to marry; or couples who marry legally in their own state, but then move away.

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If their new states don't recognize gay marriage, the couples are out of luck if they want a divorce. "It's strange. It puts me in emotional and legal limbo," says a Rhode Island woman who married her partner in Massachusetts but split three years later. They can't just go back to Massachusetts for a quick divorce, either; they'd need to live there a year to get one. Child custody cases can be a mess, and taxes, too: The federal government doesn't recognize gay marriage, which means the IRS doesn't, either. (Read more same-sex couples stories.)

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