I Will Survive: 5 Tips for Ending a Same-Sex Marriage

Even with gay marriage becoming more widespread, don't count on the courts to make your breakup any easier. Most states don't recognize such unions legally, and the courts won't help you divide your possessions. But if your relationship does head south, your first step should be to call a lawyer. Gay divorce is an emerging field whose laws change constantly and vary wildly by state. The advice that follows depends on your location, but several general rules of thumb could save you from losing your shirt.

1 ) Close your joint accounts. Cancel your shared checking accounts and credit cards immediately. If you keep them open and your ex burns through cash or runs up debt, you might have to pay for it.

2 ) Do not kick him out of the house. Even if you're the sole owner of the home, you could be forced into eviction proceedings if your ex has been contributing money every month. "If there is a landlord-tenant relationship that could be argued, you can't throw him out," says Jo Ann Citron, a lawyer in Boston who focuses on divorces and breakups.

3 ) Take what you think is yours. Get your hands on the property you own—especially if your ex is doing the same thing. "If you know the other person is doing it, then you have to take yours," says Anthony C. Adamopoulos, a Massachusetts-based lawyer who advises on same-sex partnerships. But don't try to grab all the loot. "That is only appropriate if you know it's going to be a difficult breakup," he says, "and you have a reasonable expectation that you would get those things eventually."

4 ) Stay out of court. Use a mediation service tailored to gay partnerships. Mediators can help separate property, lay out who will be responsible for any joint debt and custody matters, and decide how much financial support one partner should get.

5 ) Remove him from your insurance benefits. If an employer provides your insurance, letting your ex keep his coverage might leave you open to a fraud claim. Still, don't be hasty: If you reunite with your ex, you might have to wait up to a year before you can sign him back up.


READ MORE:
The Divorce Survival Guide
The Rise of the Financial Divorce
The Stay-at-Home Divorce
How to Survive Her Affair
Your Marriage Isn't Dead—It's Comatose