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Published August 07, 2013, 09:20 PM

Minnesota sees gay divorces after marriages legalized

Same-sex couples are filing for divorce in Minnesota less than a week after same-sex marriages became legal in the state.

Same-sex couples are filing for divorce in Minnesota less than a week after same-sex marriages became legal in the state.

Dawn Tuckner and her former partner were married in Canada in 2004, but the partner left three years ago leaving Tuckner with their 7-year-old son, according to WCCO TV in Minneapolis. But because their marriage weren’t legal in Minnesota, they couldn’t divorce.

That is until midnight Aug. 1, when the law legalizing gay marriage went into effect.

“It’s been really tough being in limbo of not being married on July 31, and then all of a sudden come Aug. 1, boom — I have a marriage again,” Tuckner said.

After she files her paperwork for the divorce, she said she plans to marry her new partner, whom she met shortly after her divorce.

“Everybody makes mistakes, and we shouldn’t be punished for the mistakes we’ve made in the past based on the law,” she told WCCO. “We should be able to move forward, just like everybody else can.”

Rhode Island, which legalized gay marriage the same day Minnesota did, also has seen its first gay divorces. Attorney Neville Bedford, who represented one partner in a gay marriage, filed the divorce paper Aug. 1. He told WPRI TV that the couple married in 2008 in Massachusetts and separated in 2011.

But, like the Minnesota couple, they couldn’t divorce because gay marriage wasn’t legal where they lived, he said. His client was doing her residency as a doctor in Rhode Island and didn’t want to move just to get divorced, he said.

Even before Aug. 1, Minnesota divorce lawyers have been advising clients to get ready to file on the big day.

“It is not too early to start the process right now, especially if you want to expedite the process and beat the backlog of cases that is sure to hit the system in early to mid August,” Vox Law in Minneapolis advised would-be clients on its website.

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