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Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 4829
Experience:  I have assisted many customers and clients with their family law questions and I'm experienced in family law litigation.
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I am a Bermuda citizen and am in a same sex marriage with a

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I am a Bermuda citizen and am in a same sex marriage with a US citizen. We were married in Washington, DC in June 2010 and reside in Fairfax, Virginia. iWe were having financial issues and we agreed that I would return to Bermuda in December, 2012 to try and find employment and if unsuccessful I would return to Virginia. She has now informed me that she is in a new relationship and does not want to communicate with me any longer. I would like advice about what my options are and also on how to proceed. I am still unemployed and have had to reside with my parents.

TexLawyer :

Hello. I'll be assisting you with your question.

TexLawyer :

Was your marriage in DC a legal same-sex marriage, or was it a private ceremony? In other words, was there a marriage certificate filed?

Customer: There is a marriage certificate. It is legal.
TexLawyer :

OK. In that case, you will have to file for divorce in Virginia. Of course, this is somewhat complicated by the fact that Virginia doesn't recognize same-sex marriages.

Customer: Washington has a new law that says that I can file in Washington if we were married there.
TexLawyer :

True, but you need to have been separated for at least 6 months.

Customer: I just need some clarification about a Marriage Separation Agreement. Can I prepare one myself or do I need to obtain a lawyer?
Customer: It will be 6 months June 18th.
TexLawyer :

OK. So, on June 18th, you can begin the process in Washington DC, which is clearly your best option, given the fact that you are so close to the 6 month mark.

TexLawyer :

As far as whether you need a lawyer, you don't necessarily NEED one, although it would make the process go much, much smoother, especially considering the fact that it will be very difficult and expensive for you to travel back and forth for all the hearings and meetings.

TexLawyer :

However, you can find the proper forms here:

TexLawyer :

To get the process started, you have to file a petition for divorce in DC and serve your wife with a copy. From there, the court will start issuing deadlines and hearings. Also, the number of hearings and complexity of the divorce proceedings are largely driven by the number of assets to be divided up.

Customer: I thought I would do it myself and send it to her and if she does not agree then I would find a lawyer. My concern is that she plans on relocating to Texas where this other woman resides and I want to start the process before she disappears.
Customer: A Marriage Separation Agreement sounds like the way to go for now.
TexLawyer :

Yes, you DEFINITELY want to get her served while you still know where to find her. At the very least, you should start the process and get her served, then hire a lawyer to finish up the process.

Customer: With a separation agreement would I still have to go through the courts first or can I prepare it and send it to her myself?
Customer: Then get a lawyer.
TexLawyer :

You won't need a lawyer, but you won't be legally divorced just by filing one. A separation agreement just deals with assets while you are separated or the divorce is pending.

Customer: Ok. I want to do that for now and once employed I will continue with a full divorce.
TexLawyer :

OK. You can do that without a lawyer, but you will still be married. Also, filing a MSA won't begin the divorce process, it essentially separates your financial ties.

Customer: Shouldn't I do that first before she sells everything and disappears?
Customer: She has been so horrible to me that I know she is capable of doing that.
TexLawyer :

I'm not suggesting it is a bad idea, I just wanted you to understand the limitations of a MSA.

Customer: Ok. Also, is it standard practice for a lawyer to represent you if you are living in another country or would I have to be in the US.
TexLawyer :

It is a very wise first step, but you still need to follow up with a divorce, preferably while you still know where she is.

TexLawyer :

A lawyer can represent someone living in another country.

Customer: I agree.
Customer: Ok. Thanks for your help.
TexLawyer :

Glad to help.

TexLawyer :

Can I do anything else for you?

Customer: That is it for now. You have helped me in deciding what steps to take.
Customer: Can you recommend a good DC lawyer? :)
TexLawyer :

Great. If there isn't anything else I can do for you, please remember to "Rate" my answer. Also, if you have any questions in the future, you can direct them to me by including "this question is for TexLawyer" in the title.

TexLawyer :

Unfortunately, the terms of Just Answer do not allow us to recommend specific lawyers.

Customer: Ok.
TexLawyer :

However, I can point you to a couple of resources.

TexLawyer :

You can use or Both are well respected (and free) lawyer referral services.

Customer: Thanks so much.
TexLawyer :

Glad I could help.

Chris T., JD and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Hi, Veronica. I just wanted to follow up with you and see how things were going with the separation agreement. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!