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Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

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

Houston Judge Causes Controversy With Child Custody Ruling

About two weeks ago, a Houston judge made a decision – one that some consider controversial – that may soon bring national media attention to same-sex issues in Texas. Six states in the country currently permit homosexual couples to marry. The same six, along with a handful of other states, grant divorces to the couples. Texas neither grants marriages nor issues divorces to same-sex couples, so such couples often find themselves uncertain of the law if they marry or divorce elsewhere but then end up living in Texas.

This sort of problem led to the case at hand. Jim Evans had been married to a woman for about 12 years. Seven years into the marriage, he told his wife that he was gay, but the two stay married for another five years before divorcing in 2004. Jim and his wife had three children together, and child custody is where the problem of the case lies.

This past March, Jim and his partner married in Connecticut, where same-sex marriage is legal. Texas does not recognize the marriage, however, so he had to go to trial to win full custody of his children. A jury decided against him, and then the judge ordered that Jim could not ever leave his children with someone not related to them by blood or adoption. Jim is appealing the judge’s order and believes that the judge decided in that way because he knew that Jim is gay and would be leaving his children with another man if Jim were not around.

What do you think about the judge’s additional order? While Jim and his partner expect to abide by the jury’s decision, did the judge’s extra condition go behind what we would normally expect? One thing we do know is that in Texas and most states in the country, the law surrounding same-sex marriages and divorces is far from clear. The courts will be busy in the coming years deciding this burgeoning area of family law.

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce lawyers

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