- Civil Union and Civil Marriage Dissolution in Vermont
- Recognition of a Vermont Civil Union or Same-Sex Marriage Outside Vermont
Civil Unions and Civil Marriage
On September 1, 2009, Vermont granted same-sex couples the right to marry and ceased licensing civil unions. While a same-sex couple can no longer enter into a civil union, Vermont continues to recognize and extend the legal benefits of a civil union to couples already joined in a civil union.
Vermont’s same-sex marriage law did not automatically convert existing civil unions into marriages. Accordingly, couples joined in a civil union who desire to enter into a marriage must obtain a marriage license on the same terms as any other couple. A couple does not need to dissolve their civil union in order to enter into a marriage, as long as they are marrying each other.
Civil Union and Civil Marriage Dissolution in Vermont
The Vermont Family Court has jurisdiction over all proceedings relating to the dissolution of civil unions and civil marriages. The dissolution of a civil union or same-sex marriage is subject to the same substantive rights and obligations that are involved in the dissolution of a heterosexual marriage.
A couple who entered into a civil union and later a marriage who wishes to separate must dissolve both the civil union and the marriage. The dissolution of the civil union and marriage can be sought at the same time.
Recognition of a Vermont Civil Union or Same-Sex Marriage Outside Vermont
It is unclear how other states may handle a civil union or same-sex marriage dissolution. A complaint to dissolve a civil union or marriage in Vermont may be brought if either party has resided within the state for a period of six months or more, but dissolution cannot be granted unless one of the parties has resided in the state for at least one year preceding the date of the final hearing.
In certain instances, same-sex couples with Vermont civil unions or marriages will be able to legally end their relationships in the Vermont courts, even if neither party lives in Vermont. Generally, the new law allows for dissolution or divorce of same-sex couples who do not meet the residency requirement and cannot obtain relief in their own states. Couples cannot have minor children, and the divorce/dissolution is by agreement only and therefore must be uncontested.