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DC council approves looser residency test for gay divorce

The bill, No. B19-526, the Civil Marriage Dissolution Equality Amendment, would let gay couples who married in Washington get divorced even if they no longer live there, if they live in a state that would not let them divorce because it does not consider them married. (Or possibly even if it refuses to divorce them for completely unrelated reasons, such as their not having divorce grounds under their state's laws - the text is ambiguous about that.) Under current law, one spouse has to live in Washington for six months before starting a divorce case.

However, Tuesday's unanimous vote was only a preliminary approval - a final vote,the mayor's signature, and a 30-day U.S. Congressional review period are still needed.

"DC Council approves bill making gay divorce easier" - WVVA.com 2/7/12, via Kansas City family lawyer Ron Nelson

The bill would add the following to the Code's divorce residency requirements:

“(b)(1) An action for divorce by persons of the same gender, even if one of or neither party to the marriage is a bona fide resident of the District of Columbia at the time the action is commenced, shall be maintainable if the following apply:

“(A) The marriage was performed in the District of Columbia; and

“(B) Neither party to the marriage resides in a jurisdiction that will maintain an action for divorce; provided that it shall be a rebuttable presumption that a

jurisdiction will not maintain an action for divorce if the jurisdiction does not recognize the marriage.

“(2) Any action for divorce as provided by this subsection shall be adjudicated in accordance with the laws of the District of Columbia.

“(c) No action for annulment of a marriage performed outside the District of Columbia or for affirmance of any marriage shall be maintainable unless one of the parties is a bona fide resident of the District of Columbia at the time of the commencement of the action.

“(d) The residence of the parties to an action for annulment of a marriage performed in the District of Columbia shall not be considered in determining whether such action shall be maintainable.

“(e) If a member of the armed forces of the United States resides in the District of Columbia for a continuous period of six months during his or her period of military service, he or she shall be deemed to reside in the District of Columbia for purposes of this section only.”.


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