Women want civil union dissolved

by Cara Bailey |
Feb. 13, 2008, 7:30am

CHARLES TOWN - Two women who were joined in a civil union in Vermont are seeking a court ruling to dissolve their union in West Virginia.

The women, identified only by their first names, filed a complaint Jan. 18 in Jefferson Circuit Court, seeking uncontested declaratory judgment for termination of their civil union so they can settle financial and personal affairs.

Debora B. and Barbara K. were issued a certificate of civil union April 24, 2001 in Vermont. They entered a contract Jan. 2, 2008, to dissolve the union and disentangle their financial affairs in West Virginia.

The women, through attorney David Greenberg filed the suit to get approval to terminate the union in West Virginia. According to the suit, they attempted to dissolve their union through the Family Court of Jefferson County, but the court ruled it did not have the jurisdiction.

It was found that the Circuit Court would have the jurisdiction to hear the case, so the case was filed in Jefferson Circuit Court.

This type of case isn't new to West Virginia.

In 2002, Marion County Family Court Judge David P. Born granted two women a dissolution of their Vermont civil union.

Born wrote that the women are ''citizens of West Virginia in need of a judicial remedy to dissolve a legal relationship created by the laws of another state."

According to the latest suit, Vermont has no jurisdiction to dissolve the union because neither party is a resident of Vermont. The State of Vermont has a ruling that requires state residency for at least six months for the dissolution of the civil union, and one year of residency prior to the final hearing.

The suit says that terminating the civil union is the only way Debora and Barbara "can settle their affairs definitively and get on with their lives, resolving uncertainly including financial planning, marriage to other persons, inheritance and family relationships."

The women seek a ruling that will deem the civil union terminated.

Jefferson Circuit Court case number 08-C-18

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