Portrait of John K Grubb

Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 201 • Houston, Texas 77027-3139

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Texas Can’t Stop Gay Divorce

An appeals court ruled that the Texas attorney general could not block a divorce granted to two women who were legally married elsewhere. Angelique Naylor and Sabina Daly married in Massachusetts in 2004 and then returned home to Texas. The couple received a divorce last February in Austin, Texas.

The Texas attorney general, Gregg Abbott, filed a motion to intervene a day after the divorce was granted. Abbott argued the judge did not have jurisdiction to grant a divorce because Texas has a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. A judge ruled the motion was not timely but Abbott appealed.

A three-judge appeal panel of 3rd Texas Court of Appeals in Austin, Texas, said the state was not a party of record and Abbott therefore did not have a position to appeal.

Despite the ruling, it is still debatable whether same-sex couples have the right to divorce in Texas, as another gay couple received a ruling against a divorce in the state. In August the 5th Texas Court of Appeals in Dallas ruled gay couples legally married in other US states could not get a divorce in the state of Texas. The same three-judge panel in Dallas ruled the state’s same-sex marriage ban was constitutional. Texas voters passed a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in 2005, even though state law already prohibited it.

The attorney general still has the right to appeal the ruling to the Texas Supreme Court. The same-sex divorce in Texas appears to be complicated and this debate is unsettled, which makes it difficult for a divorce lawyer to deal with what is considered a private matter.

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