Divorce Difficult in Nevada for Same-Sex Couples - 8 News NOW

Divorce Difficult in Nevada for Same-Sex Couples

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Murphy Rasmussen with her daughter London. Murphy Rasmussen with her daughter London.

LAS VEGAS -- The start of a marriage is the beginning building of a life together which can include a home and children.

For Murphy Rasmussen, it was no different. The best moment of her life was when she discovered her partner was pregnant.

"We ran to the local Walmart and I got her a ring and flowers because it was our time to really just start fresh," Rasmussen said.

They weren't able to marry because domestic partnership didn't exist so their marriage was not legal.

"When our daughter was six weeks old, I got to see the ultrasound at St. Rose and I saw the little jumping bean jumping around," Murphy said.

While baby London made her way into the world with two mommies, she would soon become part of an all too common statistic. While they were just like other couple in the home, the women, now at odds, found problems trying to separate property and share custody.

"The judge was only going to give me grandparent rights. The judge didn't even look at me," Rasmussen said.

The problems could have been even worse had they actually been married in another state. This is just one of the issues gay couples face in the state of Nevada. Unable to marry, thousands of Nevada couples are racing across state lines in recent years to wed, possibly without considering the legal ramifications.

"They just have one more issue they have to deal with," said Jim Davis, a family court attorney who helps LGBT couples in the valley.

"Relationships end. I think over time, just like other marriages, other relationships, 50 percent of them are going to fail," Davis said.

He says there's no clear cut policy in the Clark County court system for what happens when same-sex unions -- created out of state -- end.

"They were married in Canada 10 years ago, or in Massachusetts or California. And trying to convince our courts that they have to dissolve those marriages here, because they have the kids, because they have property here, businesses here," Davis said.

The couples could technically divorce in the state or country where they married, but many have residency requirements. Also, states like California have no jurisdiction in dividing property, money or children who reside in Nevada.

"We need to devise a way to allow those folks to utilize our court systems to dissolve those relationships when there are legal bonds there," Davis said.

London is now 8 years old. Rasmussen says, like any breakup, it's tough, but her daughter makes it worth it.

"We're not together any more, but we need to muster up and show that we can behave as adults because the bottom line is, can a kid really get too much love?"

While Murphy continues her fight to keep her daughter, she hopes Clark County family court will soon have a more concrete policy on how to handle same-sex couples in their marriages as well as their divorces.

"If we're going to do it, lets do it right. If it doesn't work out, that way it can also be dissolved as it is for heterosexuals," Rasmussen said.

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