I’ve posted on this topic before and I’ll likely post on it again because it is the issue for which I receive the most calls every week in my law practice. If you are a same-sex couple and you entered into civil union or marriage in the State of Connecticut but you do NOT reside in Connecticut, how do you obtain a divorce?
It’s not news that lesbian and gay couples can marry in some states … but just try to get divorced!
In Connecticut, whether you are a same-sex couple or an opposite-sex couple, our statutes state that:
Sec. 46b-44(c) A decree dissolving a marriage or granting a legal separation may be entered if: (1) One of the parties to the marriage has been a resident of this state for at least the twelve months next preceding the date of the filing of the complaint or next preceding the date of the decree; or (2) one of the parties was domiciled in this state at the time of the marriage and returned to this state with the intention of permanently remaining before the filing of the complaint; or (3) the cause for the dissolution of the marriage arose after either party moved into this state.
No matter who you are, if you want to obtain a divorce in Connecticut, you must reside in this State. Period.
If you are a heterosexual couple, you can obtain a divorce in all 50 states (provided you meet that State’s statutory residency requirements). If you are a lesbian or gay couple, however, you can only obtain a divorce in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. That’s a serious problem for many gay couples.
Until the blatantly discriminatory federal DOMA and similar discriminatory DOMA legislation in most states can be obliterated, same-sex couples will find obtaining a divorce quite the challenge. It’s unfair, yes. But it happens to be the truth.
In the end, here’s what it comes down to: If you are a same-sex couple wishing to enter into marriage, please be sure to reside in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage in case you later want to obtain a divorce.
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Don’t get me started.
Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.
copyright 2010 Irene C. Olszewski