Colorado now offers a service to married same-sex couples that many other states do not: gay divorce. Gay rights advocates say that the state’s first finalized divorce means gay couples can now legally terminate their marriage or civil union relationships in Colorado. Colorado is one of a number of states that treat gay and straight couples the same in almost every respect through civil unions or domestic partnerships.
There is confusion as to how different states treat gay divorce. Even though gay marriage is not allowed in Colorado, gay divorce is permitted. Some states require residency for a certain period of time prior to filing for divorce. You can’t just go on vacation to get a divorce, like you can when you want to get married. In Colorado, one of the two individuals in the marriage or union must reside in Colorado for more than 90 days in order to be eligible for a divorce.
Colorado’s civil union law, which took effect May 1 of this year, provides legal protections for same sex couples including division of property, financial responsibility between former spouses, parental visitation and child support to splitting couples. The law also prohibits people who entered into civil unions in other states from entering into an additional civil union in Colorado.
Colorado’s gay divorce law will prevent same-sex couples from potentially significant property losses as a result of ending their romantic relationships. The law would be particularly helpful for people who have been in legal relationships for a long period of time and who require division of property or adjudication of support or visitation rights. Six states allow civil unions while same sex marriage is legal in 13 states and the District of Columbia. Anyone who has questions about the legalities behind same-sex divorce may want to seek the counsel of a family law attorney who may be able to assist them.
Source: Huffington Post, “Colorado’s First Gay Divorce Finalized”, July 30, 2013