Solomon v. GuidryAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff Melissa Solomon appealed the dismissal, without consideration of the merits, of her petition for dissolution of a nonresident civil union. Plaintiff and defendant entered into a civil union in 2001 in Brattleboro, Vermont, but both resided in Wake County, North Carolina. The parties were separated by May 2014. The parties had no children. In 2015, they decided to dissolve their civil union and filed an uncontested complaint in Vermont, accompanied by a final stipulation as required by 15 V.S.A. 1206(b). The superior court dismissed the complaint, concluding that the parties failed to produce evidence that they attempted to obtain a dissolution of the civil union in North Carolina. The court expressed concern that if Vermont courts “continue[d] to accept these filings and allow courts in other states to ignore precedent [set by Obergefell v. Hodges, __ U.S. __, 135 S. Ct. 2584, 2608 (2015)], the situation [would] never be resolved.” Because civil marriage and civil unions remained legally distinct entities in Vermont and because "Obergefell" mandated that states recognize only same-sex marriage, uncertainty remained as to whether Obergefell required other states to recognize and dissolve civil unions established in Vermont. The parties here followed the section 1206(b) mandates. Plaintiff contended that the provided affidavit satisfied the “acknowledgment” required by § 1206(b), and thus the court erred when it refused to consider the issue and held that North Carolina was the proper venue for all filings and appeals. The Vermont Supreme Court agreed with plaintiff, and reversed and remanded the trial court's dismissal.