A Texas court denied a divorce request recently by two women who married in New Hampshire in 2010. According to an attorney for one of the women, under Texas law the state does not allow same-sex marriage and lacks jurisdiction to enable a petition for divorce.
By not allowing the couple to divorce, the attorney continued, the marriage is treated as if it never existed. This means that all benefits, responsibilities and rights afforded to divorced couples do not exist for them. The women’s marriage, however, is federally recognized. If they decided to divorce in New Hampshire, one of them would need to be a resident of that state for a minimum of six months.
Divorce for same-sex couples has become an issue in many states, and some couples are challenging the law. The Supreme Court may hear arguments on the issue later this year. Since there is no national law guaranteeing same-sex couples the ability to marry and divorce, the court is being asked to address the issue. The women plan to take their case to a state appellate court.
Divorce is a legal process to end a duly authorized marriage. While a couple may be able to marry in one state, as in this case, their marriage may be considered non-existent in another. This discrepancy may be resolved in the future. Marriages dissolved by the court also involve property division, child custody and support as well as alimony. It allows the parties to move on emotionally and financially. A family law attorney can help a client in negotiating a comprehensive divorce settlement agreement.
Source: CBS DFW, “Tarrant County Judge Denies Same Sex Divorce Request“, Angela Martin, September 19, 2014