Same sex marriage has been legal in the state of Connecticut since 2008. This is a major milestone for Connecticut because not all states recognize gay marriage. But, same sex divorce laws are still not very developed. This presents challenges and complexities for couples seeking a same sex divorce that heterosexual couples do not face. Here, I will discuss some of these challenges.
Same Sex Divorce in Connecticut
The right to obtain a divorce in any state depends on two factors. First, the parties must have a legal relationship recognized by that state. Second, they must meet the state’s residency requirements. A same sex couple who marry in Connecticut can obtain a divorce in Connecticut as long as one of the parties still resides in Connecticut at the time of the divorce action. This means that if you came to Connecticut simply to get married, you won’t meet the residency requirements to begin your divorce proceedings in Connecticut.
If you and your spouse lived in Connecticut and subsequently moved to a state that does not recognize same sex marriages, you cannot obtain a divorce in the new state because that state considers you unmarried. Most importantly, you will no longer be able to obtain a divorce in Connecticut. This is because you will not meet Connecticut’s residency requirements.
Obtaining same sex divorce in Connecticut is conventional in all respects. This includes the jurisdictional requirements, grounds, division of property, child custody, alimony, etc. But, parties considering a same sex marriage in Connecticut should prepare for the possibility of relocation. This means they are left with no practical means of ending their marriage if the need arises. This can certainly complicate your life. For assistance with this issue, you should contact an attorney.
One major challenges that same sex couples face during divorce is financial issues. One major problem in same sex divorce arises when trying to divide assets. Partners cannot legally file jointly which means that they have nothing that can be considered marital property. Marital property in the Connecticut divorce process is important because it means that if a married couple buys something or obtains assets over the course of their marriage, it is considered both of theirs and therefore they both have a claim to it.
For example, if a traditional couple buys a house during their marriage, it is a joint purchase and so in the divorce they both have claims to it. However, in a same sex marriage, the spouse that bought the house is the only one with a claim to it. This makes it difficult to divide property. This leads to unfair decisions and high costs that are difficult to avoid.
Child custody and child support can also become complex issues if one parent decides to move out of state. Sometimes a parent has no choice but to move for a job or family reasons, but this still causes issues with custody. Both custody and support enforcement may become difficult because not all states recognize same sex agreements. This becomes especially difficult if a gay couple adopted children. As a result, what would be acceptable in Connecticut may not be in another state and this can create problems.
Because same sex marriage is not recognized by every state in America, there is no federal law stipulating the process for a same sex divorce. This causes problems for couples in states such as Connecticut, which allows same sex marriage, to divorce in a quick, cost-effective, painless manner. For assistance with the process, please contact our office at 203-925-9200.