Residency requirements open doors for same-sex divorces

A complex legal issue that is popping up in different states and continues to be addressed in the courts was discussed here previously on the blog. We have news about another new important case involving same-sex marriage and divorce laws.

A Rhode Island man is in the midst of trying to divorce his husband after getting married in Massachusetts. Because of Rhode Island’s current laws pertaining to same-sex marriage and divorce, he was forced to move to another state to pursue a divorce.

The man decided to move across the state line to Massachusetts and live there for a year before he would be able to file for divorce. However, there is new legislation pending in Rhode Island, according to a local media report that would simplify this matter for people with the same situation.

If the new Rhode Island bill passes, any couple could file for a divorce in Rhode Island even if their marriage is not recognized as legal in the state. This would solve the problem faced by same-sex couples who jump state lines in order to establish residency so they can pursue a divorce and not be trapped in marital limbo.

Although Rhode Island is not a gay marriage state, it did pass a civil union law in 2011. That piece of legislation provided a legal means for dissolution of a civil union.

Whether a person is dissolving a civil union or seeking a divorce from a spouse, he or she will need to ensure that, through appropriate guidance, their rights are being protected; such as, receiving a fair division of the assets, alimony or child support.

Source:, “Gays can’t wed in RI, but bill would allow divorce,” David Klepper, April 5, 2012

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