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Residency Requirements Make It Difficult for Same-Sex Couples to Divorce

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Minnesota since 2013, but not every state has embraced the law. While the tide is slowly turning, with more and more states legalizing same-sex marriage, there are still holdouts. In these states, it is illegal to marry someone of your same gender. It is also illegal to get a divorce if you’re in a same-sex marriage. This has proven to be a major issue that gay and lesbian couples are struggling with when they wish to uncouple.

While, for instance, a couple could travel to a state where same-sex marriage is legal to get married, they cannot make the same pilgrimage for a divorce. Most states have residency requires for divorce and couples who do not meet those requirements cannot utilize their courts for divorce. If a couple lives in a state where same-sex marriage has not been legalized, they can be stuck as a married couple even if they are no longer cohabitating and have moved on as divorcees.

For its part, Minnesota has attempted to address this issue by relaxing its residency requirements and allowing same-sex couples to divorce even if they do not live in the state. However, the state will not address issues relating to child custody, visitation and support for couples who are not domiciled within the state. Often these are most complicated and important matters relating to a divorce and the inability to utilize legal channels to provide definitive answers can be extremely problematic for divorcing same-sex couples. For instance, noncustodial parents have no legal right to pursue visitation or custody of their children despite the fact that they may have legally adopted them.

Custody, property division and other issues are difficult in any type of divorce. If you are going through this process, consult the knowledgeable Minnesota family law attorneys at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. today.

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