As more and more states across the country legalize same-sex marriage, concerns over the validity of unions that occur in those states increase. The state of Texas, along with several others, does not currently recognize same-sex marriage. And despite the fact that such marriages are legal on the federal level, proving their validity under state laws in order to pursue divorce presents significant legal challenges for all parties involved.
Despite the fact that Texas family law guidelines do allow same-sex married couples to legally account for the end of their unions, the state’s Defense of Marriage Act prohibits same-sex marriage and divorce. As a result, the divorce petition of two women was recently denied in Fort Worth. The judge’s decision to reject the divorce petition means that the women’s marriage will continue to be recognized under federal guidelines unless or until their divorce is granted, despite the fact that they are not married under Texas law.
The fact that the marriage in question is legally sound under federal guidelines prohibits either party from remarrying until the divorce is finalized. And because the marriage is not recognized in the women’s state of residence, one or both of them would have to establish residency in the state where they married in order to be granted a legal divorce.
Having the marriage declared void by the state of Texas was unsatisfactory to the parties involved in the case, since doing so disprove the validity of their marriage and prohibit them from being entitled to the many legal protections that divorce provides. Anyone with questions or concerns over pursuing divorce in the state of Texas can speak to an attorney today.
Source: CBS DFW, “Tarrant County Judge Denies Same Sex Divorce Request,” Angela Martin, Sep. 19, 2014