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How Hawaii is handling gay divorces

A lesbian couple filing for divorce highlights the need for comprehensive changes in all states’ official proceedings once they legalize gay marriage

Two weeks after Hawaii legalized gay marriage, a lesbian couple filed for divorce.

Divorce attorney Gavin Doi told KHON 2 local news he received a call last month from a lesbian couple who wished to end their partnership.

The couple lives in Hawaii but married on the mainland in 2012.

Since Hawaii legalized gay marriage 2 December 2013, same-sex couples can also now file for divorce.

For the most part, same-sex couples can not file for divorce in states that don't recognize same-sex marriage. States like Arizona and Wyoming do not recognize same-sex marriage but will process gay divorce.

‘I was a little surprised. I guess we would have expected it at some point. I just didn't expect it that quickly,’ said Doi in an interview.

Though hundreds of same-sex couples have married in Hawaii in the weeks following the legalization of gay marriage, the state has yet to update the filing procedure for gay divorces.

‘There are a lot of forms that look like they're not ready for same-sex marriage,’ said Doi.

‘Just in terms of the labeling because a lot of the forms still say husband and wife, mother or father.’

A representative from Hawaii’s court system told KHON 2 they were in the process of updating all the forms.

Currently, same-sex couples filing for divorce can cross out ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ and instead use ‘plaintiff’ and ‘defendant’.

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