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Is Same-Sex Divorce Imminent for Texas?

Relatively recent statutes enacted by the Texas legislature specifically declare same-sex marriage and civil unions void within the state. Based on this legislation, you can surmise that divorce is not possible for same-sex couples in a state where their marriages are not possible. However, the Texas Supreme Court is currently considering two cases that can potentially change the laws.

The two cases are being litigated as one case before the Texas Supreme Court. While both gay couples were legally married in Massachusetts, they now seek divorce within two different jurisdictions in Texas. According to the Houston Chronicle, the lawyer representing the couples is arguing the following points in favor of divorce for his clients:

  • They were legally married elsewhere and have a right to pursue a divorce in the state where they reside.
  • Since marriage and divorce are opposites of each other, the rules pertaining to marriage should not affect the rules of divorce.
  • The state has no standing to intervene in a divorce case unless one of the parties makes a direct challenge to the constitutionality of Texas law.

As of November 2013, the Texas Supreme Court decision is still months away but the case does pose significant issues for same-sex couples who move to Texas after being legally married in another state. Due to residency restrictions imposed for divorce in every state, dissolving a same-sex marriage from one state may be virtually impossible without moving back to the state and remaining there for the prescribed residency period.

You may plan to remain married for the rest of your lives but, if you decide to move to Texas, it makes sense to seek advice from an experienced Texas divorce lawyer. You may be able to set up contracts or other legal documents that protect your rights and the rights of your children in the event that you decide to separate down the road.

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Robert Reid McInvale
Attorney at Law

Robert Reid McInvale is an experienced family law attorney with a comprehensive practice in Houston. He provides dedicated and strong advocacy for his clients, helping them with all the issues surrounding their divorce, separation, child custody, and other marriage and family matters. Attorney McInvale—Reid to clients and friends—seemed destined for a law career. Born while his father was attending Emory University Law School, Reid grew up in Manchester, GA. His father was the city attorney for many years, as well as head of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It is in the family blood to become lawyers and help people get justice. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is part of the McInvale family tree.

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