First gay divorce finalized in Colorado under civil union law
Since neither partner to the marriage lived in Massachusetts any longer, the women could not file for divorce there. However, as the Colorado civil union legislation proceeded to become law, Yim realized that she would be eligible to file for the dissolution of her marriage under its provisions. When the law took effect on May 1, hundreds of couples lined up at county clerks’ offices across the state to join in civil unions; Yim was one of two Colorado petitioners seeking to take advantage of the dissolution process available under the law. Her petition was granted in late July.
Dissolution under the new law
The dissolution procedure permitted under the civil union law provides the same protections as a divorce. There is a requirement that one of the individuals involved in the marriage, domestic partnership or civil union, must have resided in Colorado for at least 90 days. The dissolution will encompass the same issues as a divorce, including property division, financial responsibility between the former spouses, and child custody and support.
Yim plans to marry her current partner in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. The civil union law in Colorado recognizes same-sex marriages and civil unions from other jurisdictions. The couple then plans to take advantage of another provision of the new law: a second-parent adoption will allow Yim to share legal responsibility for her girlfriend’s children once the two women are married.
Because the civil union law is still new, it will take some time for courts to work out its implications. If you have questions about civil unions or dissolutions, a family law attorney can provide more information about the new legislation.