As state and federal courts evaluate the ban on same-sex marriage in Texas, a lesbian couple asked for what could be the first divorce of its kind in Bexar County in February. The same-sex couple wed in Washington in 2010 and have a child together. State law doesn’t permit same-sex marriage or divorce, but this is one of two cases challenging the law, which could eventually be found unconstitutional. The other case heard in the state’s highest court last November is still waiting for a ruling.
The court clerk doesn’t know of any other same-sex couples who have filed for divorce in the county. The filing happened eight days before a federal judge decided that the Texas ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. However, the decision won’t go into effect until the U.S. Court of Appeals reviews the case.
This case also involves a child. One of the women is seeking shared parenting, but the biological mother claims that she did not adopt the child and has no biological connection with the child. An attorney in another case observed that same-sex couples are denied the right to end their marriage. He added that children of the unions are not protected when a couple divorces. The Attorney General and other state leaders have said that since the state doesn’t recognize gay marriage, they cannot process the divorces. Just over three-fourths of Texas voters passed a constitutional amendment in 2005 that banned gay marriage.
Even in non-traditional family situations, a parent may want ongoing contact with a child for whom they have cared. A family lawyer might be able to help clients who are trying to pursue a same-sex divorce with shared parenting.
Source: mySanAntonio.com, “Same-sex divorce filed in Bexar County“, Kolten Parker, March 17, 2014