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Georgia On His Mind? Husband’s Flirtation With Germany And Georgia Lead To Loss Of Vermont Residence

In Gosbee v. Gosbee, 2015 VT 82 (June 12th, 2015), the Court determined that a husband was not able to satisfy the residency requirement to file for divorce in Vermont.

Issue: In 2010, plaintiff husband and defendant wife moved to Germany with their young child. At the time of the move, both parties were Vermont residents. Although the couple did not intend to stay in Germany permanently, they possessed no present plans to return to the United States. While in Germany, the husband surrendered his Vermont driver’s license and obtained a Georgia driver’s license. In 2013, the parties separated. The husband returned to the U.S., and instructed his estranged wife to send all divorce papers to his mother’s house in Georgia. The husband resided in Vermont during this time period, and applied for a Vermont driver’s license. However, the husband did not lease or buy Vermont property, and suggested he might return to Germany to be near his daughter. When the husband filed for divorce in Vermont, the trial court determined that the husband was not a Vermont resident. The Supreme Court’s inquiry examined whether the trial court erred in concluding Vermont’s residency requirement was not satisfied.

Holding: The Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s determination that the husband was no longer a Vermont resident. The Court concluded that by residing in Germany indefinitely, the husband lost his Vermont residence, and did not demonstrate sufficient intent and length of stay to re-establish Vermont residence.

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