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Divorce Reform Needed for Same Sex Couples October 2, 2014

Midtown East, Manhattan
Divorce Reform Needed for Same Sex Couples, Manhattan, New York

New York is one of 19 states (along with the District of Columbia) that recognize same sex marriage as a valid union between two people. Couples from out of state will often flock to New York City for a romantic elopement, or use Manhattan as a destination wedding location. As romantic as tying the knot in the Big Apple may be, out of state same sex couples need to take precautions before getting married in New York due to certain divorce laws, criteria and residency requirements.

For same sex couples who live in states that do not recognize their unions, divorce can be difficult, if not impossible, depending on where they were married. For instance, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, Vermont and Washington D.C. will allow non-resident couples file for an uncontested divorce. However, it is important to note that these states do not hold jurisdiction over contested divorces, as well as child custody and support matters.

Unfortunately, New York State has strict residency requirements that couples must meet before they can file for divorce. Regardless of where the couple was married, or if they are heterosexual or homosexual, at least one party must have a permanent address in New York for a term of at least twelve consecutive months before they meet the residency requirement and are able to begin a matrimonial or family court action.

Divorce attorneys across New York City, including those at the law firm of Brian D. Perskin & Associates, P.C., receive many calls from distraught same sex couples who are desperate to divorce but cannot do so because their state has neglected to recognize their marriage as being legal and valid. It is heartbreaking to tell these couples that New York does not have jurisdiction in their action, and thus is unable to be the venue for their divorce. Divorce laws vary per state, and there is no uniform set of rules or guidelines that courts must adhere to while approaching and handling matrimonial and family law matters. Same sex couples will oftentimes find themselves to be “stuck” in an unwanted marriage if their home state does not recognize their union, and they are unable to meet the requirements to divorce in the state in which they were married. Because of situations such as these, divorce reform is needed. Gay rights advocates have fought hard to help homosexuals win the right to marry whomever they desire, and our country’s divorce laws need to be updated to include same sex unions. Until this is done, many gay and lesbian couples will face more hardships and barriers on the road to divorce than their straight peers.

At Brian D. Perskin & Associates, P.C., we strongly believe that all couples have the right to get married, as well as get divorced. If residency requirements are met, same sex divorce can be similar to a traditional divorce action. Child custody matters, however, can be a bit more complicated due to one parent not being the biological parent, or if a legal adoption had never taken place. For more information on divorce and child custody and support matters in the New York City metropolitan area, contact the experienced attorneys at (718) 875-7584 or (212) 355-0887 to schedule your free and confidential consultation today!

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