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National News

July 31, 2013

First Colo. gay divorce finalized

DENVER (AP) — Supporters of Colorado’s new civil unions law say a court ruling declaring a same-sex divorce final means gay couples married in other states can legally terminate their relationships in Colorado without uprooting their lives.

Juli Yim and Lorelei Jones wed in Massachusetts in 2009, where same-sex marriage is legal. Yim said that relationship went sour and she found a new partner in Colorado.

Colorado is one of several states that treat gay and straight couples the same in almost every respect through civil unions or domestic partnerships. Gay couples are not allowed to marry in Colorado, but can get divorced there under state statute.

Gay rights advocates said other states also grant divorces to gay couples who were married elsewhere, but some require in-state residency to dissolve the relationship. Gay-rights advocates contend the requirement is more than an inconvenience because it can put lives on hold for those who have moved to different states.

Denver lawyer Kyle Martelon said there is some confusion over how gay couples can get divorced, and the issues are different in other states.

“A lot of people kind of think if they went on vacation to Iowa or Massachusetts or New York and got married and came back to their state, that when they break up they can just go their separate ways,” Martelon said. “It’s not like that.”

Colorado’s civil union law, which took effect May 1, provides legal protections including division of property, financial responsibility between former spouses, parental visitation and child support to splitting couples, provided one involved individual has lived in Colorado for more than 90 days.

The new law prohibits anyone who is married or in a civil union in another state from entering a civil union in Colorado with someone other than their legally recognized spouse.

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