Sometimes Marriage Ends in Divorce

I apologize for the silence last week but I was away on vacation. Today was day one of being back to the work routine. Wow, Mondays can be brutal.

As an attorney, I spend a lot of my time working with lesbian and gay couples. While I was away, I thought a lot about gay marriage.

Before marriage for gay and lesbian couples was legalized in 5 states and the District of Columbia, a handful of states legalized civil unions. In the years that have followed, some of those civil unions and marriages have, unfortunately, failed.

In a recent edition of Edge, contributor Padraic Maroney wrote a piece titled, “With Gay Marriage comes… Gay Divorce.”.

In my law practice, I have heard from a number of lesbians and gays who wish to dissolve their marriages or civil unions. I advise every one of those people that in order to become divorced in Connecticut, they must file an action for dissolution in Superior Court and obtain a judgment of dissolution.

Couples may choose traditional litigation, collaborative divorce or mediation as a means to reaching the final divorce settlement agreement.

I’ve posted here before on the merits of collaborative divorce and the differences in that process in “Collaborative Divorce: Another Way To Dissolve Same-Sex Marriages and Civil Unions.” I’ve also posted on my other blog, Attorney O’s Midnight Musings” on Why I Prefer the Collaborative Divorce Process Over the Traditional Litigated Divorce.

If you are facing divorce, it is important to understand how the decision will impact your life. Divorce can be an emotionally and financially difficult time. Fully preparing for the change of circumstances can make a world of difference.

I will remind gay and lesbian couples who are legally married or united in civil union — and who do NOT live in Connecticut (or another state that recognizes gay marriage) that you cannot simply file for divorce in any state in this country. In Connecticut, for example, at least one party to the marriage or civil union must have been a resident of this state for one year before the divorce action can be filed. That is known as a residency requirement. A lot of people are under the mistaken impression that if they obtained a marriage or civil union in Connecticut, but have never been residents of this state, Connecticut courts will automatically have jurisdiction over your divorce. That is simply not true.

Either way, if you are seeking divorce, be sure to investigate your options. It pays to be prepared.

2 comments on “Sometimes Marriage Ends in Divorce

  1. Gina says:

    I live in NJ and was married in CT last year. My wife has unforeseen family obligations in Australia and I am unable to move there. We may have no choice but to dissolve the marriage. In this scenario, does the “residency rule” still apply?

    • Irene C. Olszewski, Esq. says:

      I don’t give specific individual legal advice on this blog, as my disclaimer states. If you are a Connecticut resident and wish to schedule a consultation to discuss specific legal needs, you are invited to call my office to set up a consultation. Thanks for understanding.

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