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Complications of divorce for same-sex couples in New York

New York signed same-sex marriage into law in 2011, and it has no residency requirements for individuals seeking a marriage license.  What that means is that couples can come from any part of the country and marry in New York.

However, New York does have a residency requirement for same-sex couples wishing to receive a divorce.  Also, simply because same-sex couples from out-of-state marry in New York does not mean that their marriage will be recognized in their home state, or that they will be allowed to file for a divorce in the state in which they live.

The residency requirements for divorce in New York will look at various factors:

  • Was the couple married in New York?
  • Did the couple reside in New York during part or all of their marriage?
  • Was either spouse a resident of New York for a continuous period of two years following the filing of a divorce?
  • Was the reason for the divorce related to actions that took place in New York?

It still is strongly suggested that those with questions regarding marriage and divorce in New York first speak to an experienced family law attorney licensed in our state. Every state has its own requirements, and there may never be complete uniformity between one state's laws and another.

The upcoming cases being decided by the United States Supreme Court will perhaps provide some guidance. Nevertheless, states will still likely implement their own set of laws and procedures for the conducting of same-sex marriages.

Source: Huffington Post, "Divorce Inequality: What Same-Sex Couples Should Know Before They Say 'I do'," by Morghan Leia Richardson, June 6, 2013

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