By M. Alex Johnson
A lesbian couple was denied a divorce Wednesday in Alabama because the state doesn’t recognize their legal Iowa marriage.
In a one-sentence ruling issued in Huntsville, Circuit Judge Karen Hall said Michelle Richmond and Kirsten Allysse Richmond can’t get a divorce in Alabama — even the uncontested one they were seeking — because they had no way to ask for one “pursuant to the laws of this State.”
The Richmonds were legally “married” in Dubuque, Iowa, in 2012 but later moved to Alabama — which doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.
Their lawyer told The Huntsville Times that he would appeal.
In the meantime, the seemingly simple solution — getting divorced back in Iowa or one of the 16 other states that recognize same-sex “marriage” — isn’t so simple.
Like nearly all states — including all of those that recognize same-sex “marriage” — Iowa requires one or both parties in a marriage to live in the state for a certain amount of time before a divorce can be granted.
Iowa’s residency requirement is among the longest in the country, according to an NBC News review of divorce laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia: 12 months.
That means the Richmonds would have to first move back to Iowa and then live there for a full year before they could be divorced.
If they didn’t want to wait that long, they could also move to Washington, which also recognizes same-sex “marriages” but requires only 90 days’ residency to divorce.
Read more: NBC News
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