Getting married carries certain pragmatic advantages. For instance, couples married under the law may receive social security benefits as well as various tax-related benefits. Moreover, laws governing divorce contain valuable protections in many states, especially with regard to retirement benefits and entitlements. Members of the LGBT community who live in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage are engaged in legal battles to obtain these same advantages and protections, authorities report. A case in Texas offers an example.
In Texas, married LGBT couples who wish to divorce can, at best, file motions to have their marriages voided, which provides neither a record nor protection for either party moving forward, authorities say. A Texas woman is reportedly going to court to challenge the status quo. She and her partner married in a state outside of Texas but now wish to divorce in Texas, where they live. If the court were to void their marriage, it would be as though the marriage never existed and neither the woman nor her partner would receive any sort of protection, according to the woman’s family law attorney. Situations like this one often make for convoluted family law cases, authorities say.
The discrepancy in state laws results in chaos for LGBT couples who wish to marry or divorce, authorities report. In the event that child custody is an issue in the voiding of the marriage, it could take months or even years to come to a solution that is consistent with the law and the wishes of each parent.
On account of the tremendous complexity that accompanies marriage and divorce for the LGBT community, it is imperative that same-sex couples retain the counsel and representation of a family law attorney. The attorney may navigate the law in order to arrive at agreements that protect an individual’s property and financial rights.
Source: Communities Digital News, “LGBT marriage, divorce, and overall legal chaos“, George Nielsen, July 27, 2014