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Same Sex Divorce in Virginia

One interesting, if less significant, consequence of the Supreme Court’s decision not to decide is that same-sex couples who married in DC and live in Virginia will presumably no longer have access to divorce in DC. Under normal circumstances, one member of a couple seeking divorce in DC must have lived in that jurisdiction for six months. Recognizing a need for same-sex married couples living in jurisdictions that do not recognize their marriages to have access to divorce, the DC city council passed a law that went into effect in 2012 providing an exemption to the six month residency requirement for same-sex couples who married in DC but who live in a jurisdiction that will not recognize their marriage and will not therefore grant them a divorce. A significant number of same-sex couples who married in DC and live in Virginia have taken advantage of the DC residency exemption to file for divorce in DC. But now that their marriages will be recognized in VA, they will have to file for divorce in VA. It remains to be seen what DC will do with the pending same-sex divorce cases involving at least one Virginia resident, whose marriage will now be recognized in Virginia.


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