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State laws put St. Louis same-sex couple's divorce in limbo

Thinking about the demise of your marriage is like trying to plan for your own death while still in your early fifties. No one really wants to do it; but when things go from bad to worse, you're at least a little better prepared for the situation ahead of you. But while planning a divorce is a rather straight-forward process for many couples across the United States, including here in Missouri, this isn't necessarily the case for same-sex couples.

Now, no one is saying that divorce is easier for heterosexual couples. Every situation comes with its own set of unique circumstances that can make the process as easy or as difficult as couples chose to make it. But with same-sex couples, even the simplest of legal issues can become complex problems.

Take the case of one same-sex couple out of Columbia as an example. They are currently trying to get their marriage -- which was performed in Iowa -- annulled because they no longer wish to be married. Unfortunately, the state of Missouri will not allow them to get a divorce and further still does not recognize their marriage as being legal. The two women in the case are hoping that because of state laws, a judge will consider their marriage to have never occurred in the first place and will grant their separation. It’s worth noting though that this might not be the case.

Even though the separation may seem simple enough -- the couple does not appear to have any children and could quite easily have an amicable separation -- because the legality of their marriage is called into question, so too is their divorce. It’s in situations like this that legal counsel is almost always advised. Without the help of a skilled attorney, same-sex couples might not know that they have options other than moving to a state where gay marriage is recognized simply to get a divorce.

Source: CBS St. Louis, "The Curious Case of Same-Sex Divorces in Missouri Courts," Nov. 12, 2013

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