Texas voters have approved a ban on same-sex marriage, but what about same-sex divorce? The state Supreme Court is set to hear two cases, one from Austin and one from Dallas, that seek divorces for two same-sex couples whose legal unions were established in Massachusetts.
Current Texas family law doesn’t allow for any sort of legal recognition of same-sex marriage or civil union, and according to Attorney General Greg Abbott, to grant a divorce to a gay or lesbian couple would be to recognize that their marriage is legal. However, the cases set to be heard by the high court call into question whether or not Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage is permitted under the U.S. constitution. There is also the question of whether banning same-sex marriage necessarily means banning same-sex divorce.
In his court brief, one of the two men from Dallas seeking divorce claimed that as more and more gay and lesbian married couples move to Texas, there will likely be more same-sex divorce petitions in the state. The Texas Supreme Court should then decide whether or not the state has jurisdiction to dissolve a marriage that was established in another state.
While it remains to be seen how the state Supreme Court will handle these family law questions, same-sex couples in Texas may still have legal issues regarding child custody, child support and other parental rights. In any case, speaking with a family law attorney may be a good step toward determining the best course of legal action.
Source: chron.com, “Texas high court to consider same-sex divorce,” Juan Carlos Llorca, Aug. 23, 2013