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Minnesota gets first gay divorce

When Minnesota recognized gay marriage for the first time this month, most residents probably didn't consider the implications for divorce. But, within a week of the state recognizing same-sex marriages, Minnesota now has its first gay divorce. The couple, to be sure, did not get married and decide to divorce all in the same week.

Rather, the couple was married in Canada in 2004. Since Minnesota did not recognize that union, though, the couple was unable to get a divorce in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. That is, until August 1. Now that the state recognizes same-sex marriages, it will also administer same-sex divorces.

According to the report, the woman filing the first same-sex divorce had not been living with or been in contact with her wife for years. So, she was relieved to finally be able to put an official end to the relationship. This scenario is relatively common among married couples, same-sex or not.

Sometimes, married couples just go their separate ways without formally ending the marriage with divorce proceedings. This is a risky strategy as numerous facets of one's life can be left to chance. Ending a marriage is a serious ordeal that subjects individuals to possible alimony payments in addition to the potential loss of substantial assets. Simply refusing to deal with the sticky dilemma of a formal divorce does not make those issues go away.

Instead, separated couples with no intention of reuniting explore their legal options with regard to legally ending the marriage. Professionals can help expedite the process and ensure that no surprises interrupt the individual's post-split life. A formal divorce can allow couples to rest easier knowing their assets cannot be affected by the whim of an ex.

Source: Huffington Post, "Gay Divorce Filed in Minnesota Just One Week After Same-Sex Marriages Recognized," August 7, 2013

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