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EXCLUSIVE: Rosie O'Donnell Marriage Breakup A Legal Nightmare, Says Lawyer

Oct. 23 2009, Published 7:20 a.m. ET

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Breaking up is indeed hard to do.

Rosie O’Donnell and Kelli Carpenter could be facing a potential legal minefield as they try and decided what to do with their four kids and their assets as their relationship crumbles, has exclusively learned.

As was first to report, the marriage of the former actress/talk show host and Carpenter is over.

Gay marriage expert and lawyer Frederick Hertz claims that same sex divorces are more difficult to deal with than traditional ones because the law is so murky towards them.

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The author of Making It Legal, A Guide To Same-Sex Marriage, Domestic Partnerships & Civil Unions said: “My advice to them would be to try and work out things privately because there is a tremendous burden on same sex couples as the law is so unclear.

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“Both Rosie and Kelli should try and acknowledge all the complexities and try and come-up with a solution that suits both them and their kids and not be inflicted by any legal laws that they are supposed to follow.”

According to the legal expert, O’Donnell and Carpenter’s 2004 marriage in San Francisco was invalidated after the California Supreme Court avoided all these marriages in their Proposition 8 ruling in May.

It is unknown if the couple exchanged vows once again during the amnesty period prior to the May ruling or if they became a legally registered couple or entered into a civil union in another state.

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Fredrick’s added: “Much depends where their legal residency is because the laws are so different in New York and Florida where the couple has homes.

“If it is the case that they are not legally married or have not registered as a couple or entered a civil union then they will essentially be treated as single people. This means for money and property aspects each will own whatever they own neither have any rights to alimony or property claims.

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If their children were legally adopted by both parents then these adoptions are recognized in New York State but they may not be recognized in Florida.

If one of the couple did not legally adopt one of their children then the second parent may or may not have rights depending on what state their residency is given as.”

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Frederick goes onto say: “Rosie and Kelly certainly have a lot to deal with because not only are there legal complexities but their divorce is very public too.

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Ideally, as with all divorces they need to work together privately and come-up with a working solution that suits them and not necessarily the courts.”

The couple have four children Parker 14, Chelsea, 12, Blake, 9, and Vivienne, 6, who was conceived through a sperm donation to Carpenter.

It’s understood that Carpenter has moved-out of their Manhattan condo as the couple try and thrash-out their difficulties.

The website for Frederick Hertz new book on gay divorce is



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