Can I Marry In New York If I Live Out-of-State?

Scales of JusticeWe get several different flavors of this question, so it’s a great one: “It has been brought to my attention that in the state of NY it is required that before they will allow a same sex marriage you must reside within that state. Is this with every state that performs these ceremonials?

Woah! Who brought that to your attention? New York, the sixth state to allow same-sex marriages, does not have a residency requirement. The states that allow us to get married have done so, in part, eyes-wide-open, recognizing that the LGBT community enjoys a good wedding bash and they want our money!

You may be confusing residency requirements with waiting periods. For better or for worse, most states have waiting periods that range from one to five (usually business) days. New York’s waiting period is a short one – just twenty-four hours. I hear that New Hampshire does not have a waiting period at all.

In the end, though, the tricky question is: What does your same-sex marriage mean in the states where you reside and, if different, where you work?

We’ve written about this before, but in case we weren’t abundantly clear, you really ought to check with an attorney who deals with these issues regularly. Your marriage may not mean as much as you think it does when you step over the state line after exchanging your vows, and, conversely, it may mean more than you had imagined.

You may also find that you are stuck in marriage-limbo if you live in one of the many states that doesn’t recognize marriages for the purpose of dissolution. So, while we’re all excited to be able to take part in our nuptials, be sure you are entering into this commitment understanding all of the implications given your particular situation.

As always, we welcome your questions and encourage you to ask them before your Big Day.

Legally Yours,

Heather & Emily




Photo Credit: © Tmcnem | Dreamstime.com

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Heather McCabe and Emily Russell are family law practitioners who regularly serve the LGBT community in all kinds of legal affairs – from adoptions to dissolutions/divorces. McCabe has taught family law and legal writing and has been on the faculty at Georgetown Law, American University, and University of Baltimore. Russell worked as a lobbyist before coming to the law. Whether through document drafting, mediation, collaborative law, or litigation, McCabe and Russell are committed to the creation and security of the unique families they serve.