Same-sex Marriage and Divorce in Texas
Divorce is always an emotional issue, but when the very validity of the marriage itself is in question, then it becomes doubly problematic. This is what is happening to the first same-sex couple suing for divorce under Texas law, which is in the throes of a fierce debate regarding same-sex marriages. Under current Texas law, same-sex couples are not allowed to petition for divorce because it would acknowledge the legality of their union, which is not recognized as a “marriage” in Texas. The Woodlands divorce lawyers, for example, know that the only option open to Texas residents under current laws is to have the union voided.
The implications of this are far-reaching. Texas divorce courts are willing to void what they consider a marriage that was invalid under state law in the first place, but this means that the spouses will not have the rights accorded to heterosexual couples who can file for divorce. This includes division of property acquired by a married couple in the course of the marriage, which is divided in a “just and right” manner as determined by the court in the absence of an approved property division agreement. In the case of same-sex couples, however, such laws do not apply. Instead, it is as if the marriage had never been.
This is precisely what critics of legalizing same-sex marriages in Texas are pushing for. Even when same-sex partners get legally married in a state that does allow same-sex marriage, such as New Hampshire, they have no legal protections when they are in Texas.