For one lesbian couple in Texas, the five-minute hearing in front of a state district court judge in Tarrant County may be one of the first few in the state that actually ended in divorce. For almost two years, the couple had been trying to divorce, but the laws at the state and federal levels did not coincide. As a result, the couple’s split has been followed closely in the media because of their appeal of the court’s initial ruling.
When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 26 that same-sex marriage is a right guaranteed by the Constitution, the way had finally been paved for the couple’s divorce ruling. One of the now ex-spouses says she hopes that things become much easier for other same-sex couples who wish to divorce in Texas.
One of the attorneys in the case, though, says that while this divorce was finally granted, other same-sex couples with more complex cases could face difficulties. Another attorney from Austin said that it will be up to the judges to find gender-neutral ways to resolve same-sex divorce cases just as they do for opposite-sex couples.
This couple had no child custody to consider or property to split. However, the Texas family code isn’t definitive on whether parents in a same-sex couple are to still to remain parents once a marriage ends. The U.S. Supreme Court didn’t address that and the Texas legislature will not meet until 2017. In order to make some of the necessary changes, it will likely take a significant amount of time.
Same-sex couples who are seeking divorce can benefit from the advice and guidance of an experienced family law attorney. Same-sex divorces may be unique to the court in a particular county, especially if they involve high net worth or complex estates.
Source: Sun Herald, “Texas judge grants gay divorce; other same-sex couples face long road,” Mitch Mitchell, Aug. 22, 2015