Divorce Case Hinges on Same-sex Marriage Question

Marriages do not always work out. When a Texas couple decides they want to end the union, they may seek to have their marriage legally dissolved via a divorce. The divorce is usually granted, but there are instances when there are certain issues that need a resolution — but it is not always easy to do so.

Divorce legal issues sometime involve property division and child custody, but there are other issues that may arise. Recently, the man who garnered national attention for being able to conceive a child, filed for divorce from his wife of nine years. The man is a transgender person who legally changed his gender identity from a woman to a man in 2002 in Hawaii, following hormone treatment and a double mastectomy. He did retain his reproductive organs, allowing the possibility of pregnancy. This was important to the subsequent union when it was discovered that his new wife could not bear children. The man has conceived three children from this union.

The Arizona judge assigned to the case has raised a question about the validity of the marriage because Arizona has a ban on same-sex marriages. If the man is redefined in Arizona as a woman, then his union with his wife would be invalid, according to the laws of Arizona.

The big question that needs to be answered in the Jan. 31 proceeding is whether the judge had the jurisdiction to decide a divorce case that involves a transgender person. If it is determined that the judge does not have the authority, the case will be dismissed and possibly appealed by the man's lawyers.

When issues arise concerning a divorce, Texas residents should seek to educate themselves about their rights and legal paths forward. Parents may want to increase their parenting time. Property may need to be fairly divided. Learning more about the various options available may help avoid undue stress.

Source: Abcnews.go.com, "Questions Over Sex Change Snag Ariz. Divorce Case," Jacques Billeaud, Jan. 1, 2013

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