NEWS

Same-sex couples flock back to B.C. seeking divorces

12/03/2013 02:12 EST | Updated 02/02/2014 05:59 EST
A number of estranged U.S. couples who married in B.C. are now coming back to get divorced by the province, thanks to a new law passed this summer by the House of Commons

Bill C-32, the Civil Marriage of Non-Residents Act, allows same-sex couples married in Canada to get a divorce from a Canadian court.

The federal government’s move closed a loophole for non-residents who had previously been prevented by Canada's Divorce Act to seek a divorce because they didn’t meet a one-year residency requirement.

The loophole left same-sex couples married in Canada in a bind, as their marriages were not, in most cases, recognized in their home jurisdiction.

Vancouver-based family law expert Georgialee Lang represents three couples who are among the first to file.

“It was inevitable that with same-sex marriage would come same-sex divorce,” says Lang.

Heidi Nedreberg and her ex, who are represented by Lang in their divorce proceedings, came to B.C. in 2006 to formalize a union forbidden in their home state of Utah.

They were supposed to live happily ever after, but things didn't work out that way.

"Our relationship romantically didn't work out,” says Nedreberg. “We've been sort of stuck in limbo.”

Nedreberg remains friends with her ex, but says a divorce would allow her to marry a new partner.

“It's just one of those things that is unfinished and would hang over our heads.”

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