Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Couple gains dubious rights to being first lesbian divorce

In 1934 "The Gay Divorcee" starred Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. In 2012 it is starring two 29-year-old women who married in New York and now have the dubious honor of being that state's first lesbian divorce.

One of the women said, "I do very much feel like the president of the loneliest club in the world. How many gay divorcees do you know?" Just as same-sex couples in Massachusetts have had the right to marry since May 2004, they also have the opportunity to divorce. Same-sex marriage became legal in New York in June 2011 and same-sex divorce is now also legal in that state.

According to news sources, the 29-year-old photographer and the 29-year-old masseuse have been a couple for about four years. They married in New York last year shortly after it became legal to do so. The marriage immediately began to fall apart, and they decided to divorce. According to state law, a married couple needs to have demonstrated that the marriage has broken down for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.

In this particular case, the couple has few assets to divide, no children and an estimated $10,000 debt from a planned wedding reception in Boston that will no longer be taking place. The division of property in this case should be relatively simple.

The 29-year-old photographer lamented that it is hard to go through the upheaval without being able to commiserate with any other same-sex divorced persons. The 29-year-old masseuse stated that the situation is the same for same-sex couples as it is for straight couples -- miserable.

In either case, a legal professional who has experience with same-sex divorce should be able to help someone navigate the choppy waters of becoming a "Gay Divorcee."

Source: EDGE, "Lesbian Couple Who Married in N.Y. Become First to Divorce in State," Jason St. Amand, June 29, 2012

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