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As a greater number of jurisdictions grant same sex marriage, there are a growing number of couples in non-recognition states traveling to those states for marriage. They then return to their non-recognition state of residence. Upon needing a divorce, they are then learning that their state may not be willing to grant the divorce and they do not meet the residency rules to obtain a divorce in any other location. It is a growing problem. In response to the growing problem, many states and countries, Canada, have started to modify their jurisdiction rules to provide exceptions for these couples.

In general, the exceptions state that if the couple was married in that state and they are not able to obtain a divorce in any other jurisdiction they can get divorced in the state they were married in. In most cases they will only receive the status of divorce and not additional assistance with division of assets and debts. That is problematic but not as problematic as being permanently. National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) has a great memorandum that summarizes each of the jurisdictions that have exceptions. If you are desperate for a divorce – read up and find out if you have a chance of returning to the state/country that you originally were married it.

Read more: Divorce for Same-Sex Couples Who Live in Non-Recognition States (PDF Download).

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