Same-Sex Divorce For Foreign Couples Legally Impossible - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Same-Sex Divorce For Foreign Couples Legally Impossible

Published March 11, 2016

Photos by
Ouicoude/Wikimedia Commons

Same-sex couples of foreign origin who got married in Iceland have no legal recourse if they want to get a divorce.

Lawyer Lára V. Júlíusdóttir wrote a column for Fréttablaðið pointing out that when Iceland’s law on same-sex marriage was written, while foreigners were granted the right to get married in Iceland, no legal clause was encoded that would allow foreign same-sex couples to get divorced.

Obviously, those who hail from countries which allow same-sex marriage can get divorced in their home countries. But for those couples who cannot get married in their home countries, problems can arise. For one example, gay men from Latvia or Russia who got married in Iceland have no choice but to stay married. Same-sex marriage is illegal in both of these countries, so they will not even be able to get divorced in their home countries.

Lára said that she has tried to initiate changes where this is concerned. She has been in contact with the Ministry of the Interior, members of parliament and the chairperson of the Welfare Committee in an effort to have a clause for divorcing foreigners included. These efforts unfortunately did not lead to legislative changes.

As such, any same-sex couples hoping to come to Iceland to get married should bear in mind that, in the event they want to terminate their marriage, they will have to do that in their home countries – if their home countries allow for it, that is.

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