Sometimes, marriages just don't work out. The flip side of gay marriage is, of course, gay divorce. With the legal resumption last week of same-sex marriage in California, the state's family law attorneys are gearing up for what happens when some of those marriages fail.
That's already the reality for some same-sex marriage pioneers: Gay and lesbian couples in unsuccessful domestic partnerships and those whose 2008 marriages didn't last have already learned the ropes in family court, where attorneys' fees can easily soar past $20,000.
They've already negotiated child and spousal support, and they've navigated the world of community property, with the equitable division of real estate, bank accounts, pensions and other assets.
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively overturned California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage and handed down a sweeping Defense of Marriage Act ruling that allows legally married gay and lesbian couples across the country to receive federal benefits.
With those landmark actions, legal experts are already warning same-sex couples that hard-fought civil rights can also come with hefty contractual consequences.