D.C.

Gay divorce made easier by D.C. Council

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Nearly two years to the date since the District started issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples, the D.C. Council is making it easier for them to get a divorce.

Gay marriage was originally legalized in D.C. in December 2009. (Photo: Associated Press)

Breaking up is hard to do no matter where you live—but, that has been especially true for same sex couples who were married in D.C. but live in states where those unions are not recognized.

But, when their relationship hits the rocks—couples turn to Michele Zavos—she has become the go-to attorney for same sex couples looking to get a divorce.

"In order to get divorced, you have to get your marriage recognized,” said Silver Spring Attorney Zavos.

She has handled cases where couples married in D.C. could not split ways because they live in a state where same sex unions are not recognized.

“Our firm has a case in Maryland where two women tried to get a divorce, judge refused to grant the divorce,” Zavos said.

The law is changing now and the case is under appeal. Until Zavos went to D.C. leaders last fall with an idea for a new law, one member of a same sex couple wanting a divorce had to live in the District half a year before filing with the courts.

“With this statute, I'm hopeful that individuals that have been married can go on with their lives,” Zavos said.

D.C. leaders gave the bill final approval Tuesday.

"Imagine being married to the same person even after you break up and you simply cannot separate that's a bit of a nightmare ,” said Bob Summersgill, who is an advocate for the gay and lesbian community.

Summersgill testified on the measure. He is told that same sex couples, unless you can visit splitsville, don’t tie the knot.

“My sister for instance, I've advised not to get married. She lives in Missouri—because she would not be able to get out of it although she's been with her partner for I believe it's 17 years now,” Summersgill said.

D.C.’s same sex divorce bill now goes to D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray for his signature.

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