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How To Dissolve a Same-Sex Marriage or Civil Union

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Civil unions give same-sex partners who reside together legal protection under the law. However, the benefits of civil unions are fewer than those of full marriage. Vermont is currently the only state in the U.S. that allows civil unions.

But, how can a same-sex couple dissolve a civil union? Dissolution of civil unions follow the same procedures as dissolving a marriage.
Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. Visit the local town clerk or office where the original certificate for civil union was submitted and ask for a divorce certificate. Online applications can be found here.
  2. There are usually two grounds for the dissolution of civil unions, which may vary by local law. They are as follows: (1) the marriage is irretrievably broken or (2) one of the parties is mental incompetent.
  3. Both parties must live in the state where the union was established.
  4. Get legal representation, preferably an attorney that specializes in family law.
  5. Serve your partner with the proper divorce papers. This can be done through your legal representation.
  6. Discuss division of property, financial obligations and assets with your partner. Try to reach a mutually beneficial agreement, but understand both legal parties may need to be involved. The final decision will be made by the court.
  7. If you and your partner have adopted or natural-birth children, discuss where the child will reside and an appropriate visitation schedule. Legal parties may need to be involved. The final decision will be made by the court.
  8. Often the dissolution of civil unions involves complex situations and facts that can influence the courts decision about financial responsibilities, property, assets and children.

What You Need

  • Family Attorney
  • Divorce Certificate
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