MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It wasn’t just same-sex marriage that became legal last week, so did same-sex divorce.
“To me, it was like going to Vegas — you go in, you get your piece of paper,” Dawn Tuckner said. “You come home, you have no rights.”
Tuckner and her ex-partner were married in Canada in 2004. Three years ago, her partner left her and their 7-year-old son.
They made a verbal agreement that Tuckner would keep the home.
“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,” she said.
After Tuckner’s paper work is filed she plans to marry her new partner who she met shortly after her divorce.
While Tuckner is one of the first to file for divorce after Aug. 1, some began to file paper work weeks ago in an attempt to beat a backlog of people seeking more protections.
“You’re entitled to the protections of, for example, spousal maintenance statutes, or laws that protect and preserve marital property and divide those things equitably,” attorney Jason Brown said.
Before Aug. 1, same-sex couples were only protected under limited cohabitation laws.
“Let’s say a couple lives together for 25 years, and one of them sacrifices their career to stay at home and raise a child, and all of a sudden after that relationship ends, the party who stayed home is left without a remedy,” Brown said.
Tuckner said she’s grateful the new law provides what she sees as a more fair solution.
“Everybody makes mistakes, and we shouldn’t be punished for the mistakes we’ve made in the past based on the law,” Tuckner said. “We should be able to move forward, just like everybody else can.”
Before Aug. 1, Minnesota same-sex couples petitioning for divorce had to move to another state and live there for at least six months.