Skip to Content
Brown Paindiris & Scott, LLP mobile logo

FAQ: Family Law for Same Sex Couples

Does Connecticut recognize civil unions?

Yes. As of October 1, 2010, all civil unions entered into previously in Connecticut were automatically converted to marriages under a law passed in 2009. However, civil unions, marriages and other relationships which provide substantially the same benefits as marriage between two people entered into in other states or jurisdictions where they are allowed are recognized in Connecticut as legal relationships.

If I have a civil union from another state, can I dissolve it in Connecticut?

Yes. Connecticut will recognize a “foreign” civil union for the purpose of dissolving it as it recognizes marriages entered into in other states. The same rules as apply to any marriage apply here.

Is there a residency requirement for dissolving a civil union in Connecticut?

Yes. Residency requirements for dissolving a civil union are the same as for dissolving a marriage. One of the parties must have lived in Connecticut for one year before the decree dissolving the civil union can be entered, or one of the parties must have lived in Connecticut at the time of the civil union and returned with the intention of permanently remaining in Connecticut before filing the complaint, or the cause of the dissolution arose after either party moved to Connecticut.

If we get married in Connecticut, will we be able to file joint income tax returns?

Yes. Connecticut allows same-sex couples to file joint state income tax returns. Prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June 2013, the federal government did not recognize same-sex marriages for the purposes of federal income taxes. In August 2013, the IRS and the Department of the Treasury announced that same-sex couples will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. Legally married same-sex couples may now file using either “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.” Further, same-sex couples may also file an amended return, choosing to be treated as married for tax years 2010, 2011 and 2012. We recommend consulting a knowledgeable accountant before filing.

Is getting married enough to give a same-sex couple all the same rights that opposite-sex couples have?

Yes and no. Connecticut same-sex marriages are treated like other marriages. The effect of the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision is that the federal government must now recognize same-sex marriages. Such recognition will allow same-sex spouses for example to file joint income tax returns and be treated as spouses for purposes of the federal estate tax. However, DOMA still allows for states to choose whether to recognize same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples should consult a lawyer in order to take extra precautions before traveling or moving to other states that do not recognize same-sex marriage.