Even though Arkansas has yet to recognize same-sex marriage or really any other kind of formalized relationship between same-sex partners, that doesn’t mean that men and women in Arkansas are not entering into these kinds of relationships. There are many men and women living happily in same-sex relationships, some of whom are also raising families, but, like with different-sex relationships, nothing is guaranteed to last forever.

So, how do two men or two women divorce when they were never married? How do they divide up their property? Who gets custody of the children and how is child support paid? Unfortunately, the law in Arkansas doesn’t have the answer, which is why many people turn to lawyers to come up with creative legal solutions.

Sometimes, there is law that can help, as was the case for a lesbian couple that had entered into a domestic partnership in California. The two women were raising a son and a daughter, but chose to separate after more than a decade together. There was already an established process for the women to disolve their partnership, but the judge, and older man, could not get past the women’s family life. He was amazed with the way their children were born and was insulting.

Ultimately, the women chose to go through mediation to come up with a settlement. It is these kinds of creative legal solutions that same-sex couples in Arkansas need to rely on whenever they choose to end long-term relationships. Until more equitable laws are passed in Arkansas, same-sex couples must find different ways to get similar rights to everyone else.

Source: Business Insider, “A Lesbian Couple’s Messy Split Shows how US Divorce Law Has Completely Changed,” Laura Wasser, Oct. 22, 2013