Untying the Knot: Gay and lesbian couples find divorce is hard to do

Posted by Sean Bugg
July 20, 2011 8:27 AM |

While the celebrations and expectations on marriage in the gay and lesbian community focus on the ability for same-sex couples to have their relationships legally recognized, another issue lurks for some -- the ability to have their break-ups legally recognized. For couples who legally wed in one state and later divorce in another, lack of access to family courts can put a divorcees future at risk.

NPR reports on the problems of divorcing gays and lesbians, including "Amy" (a pseudonym), who married in Connecticut, moved to her home state, had a baby and then had her wife as for a divorce. The family court won't consider custody or property issues, but she's hoping for a judge to grant an uncontested divorce.

"It's very much a gamble. I'm at the whim of a judge, but it is the best shot I have, and it would make such a difference to have that peace of mind." 

Even in the states (and D.C.) where marriage equality is the law of the land, divorce can cause uncertainty. Alimony payments may be tax-free for heterosexuals, but the IRS has no guidelines for alimony payments in a gay divorce, Massachusetts attorney Joyce Kauffman tells NPR.

"Many people are just keeping their fingers crossed, hoping they don't get audited."

Listen to the NPR report, after the jump:

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