What happens when a gay couple is legally married in one state and then tries to get a divorce in a state where gay marriage is not yet legal? That’s the question facing the fourth Court of Appeals after two San Antonio women, legally married in Washington in 2010, filed for divorce in the state of Texas.
The same-sex couple is battling one another over the divorce proceedings and custody of their child. One filed a petition for divorce and joint custody while the other asked for a dismissal of both based on the fact that Texas does not recognize same-sex marriages from other states.
In fact, the Texas constitution includes a ban on gay marriage, a factor that is turning the case into a national debate. This is especially the case after the fourth Court of Appeals’ judge handed in her controversial ruling—the divorce can proceed because the state’s ban is unconstitutional.
Upon hearing the ruling, the Attorney General of the state, Greg Abbott, asked for an emergency stay to delay the case and, in his words, avoid the legal chaos.
The appeals court granted the delay and will examine Abbott’s motion to void the ruling on the grounds that it is a violation of the Appeals Court judge’s authority.
In any type of divorce proceeding or question of child custody, staying out of the courts is the ideal situation, but often one party disrupts the process and going to trial becomes your only option. When that’s the case, having a San Antonio attorney by your side to represent you may be your best course of action.
Source: statesman.com, “Texas appeals court halts ruling in gay-divorce case,” Chuck Lindell, April 24, 2014