The Texas Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that will decide if the state has to provide same-sex married couples access to divorces. Currently, same-sex marriage is not legal in Texas, but it is in a number of other states. Two couples who were married in Massachusetts are seeking a divorce in Texas, and their petition has lead to this case.
The issue of same-sex marriages and divorces has come to the forefront in the state after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state laws that don’t treat legally married same-sex couples in the same way as heterosexual married couples could run into constitutionality issues. This ruling led to the court overturning a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act. The Attorney General for the state of Texas argues that since same-sex marriage is not legal in Texas, it’s not forcing same-sex married couples into a second-class status. He states that the court’s ruling allowed states to handle marriage laws and how they are applied.
Lawyers for the two couples involved in the case argue that Texas is forcing same-sex marriages into a second-class status because the state refuses to recognize them. It’s also argued that if Texas is not allowing divorces for same-sex couples, the state should also be legally obligated to recognize these marriages.
Divorce can be difficult in the best of times, even if someone isn’t struggling for the right to do so. There are a variety of issues that need to be handled during a divorce, including asset division and spousal support. A lawyer may be able to help someone understand this process and negotiate on their behalf.
Source: Statesman, “Texas Supreme Court takes same-sex divorce cases”, Chuck Lindell, August 23, 2013