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Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

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2012 Will Bring Multiple Rulings on Same Sex Marriages

A week and a half ago, the highest court in Maryland heard arguments in a divorce case similar to cases pending before the Texas Supreme Court. There are a number of these cases pending in state appellate courts throughout the country, all concerning the same question – in states that do not recognize same sex marriages, can those states grant divorces to same sex couples who marry lawfully in another state?

In Maryland, a yes decision will only have the effect of permitting same sex divorce a little bit earlier than anticipated. The state passed a law earlier in 2012 to permit same sex marriage and divorce beginning in 2013. Texas and several other states have no such imminent legislation, however, and their courts’ decisions will have an important impact for same sex couples residing there.

What attorneys for the same sex couples often cite is the full faith and credit clause of the constitution. In a nutshell, this clause requires states to respect one another’s laws and judicial decisions. The argument goes that, if a couple is lawfully married in one state, all other states should recognize that marriage.

Bolstering the arguments of the same sex couples is the fact that, in other situations, states recognize marriages that they themselves do not grant. For example, Maryland makes it illegal for an uncle and niece to marry, but other states do not out law such a marriage. Maryland, however, recognizes that union and can grant a divorce in such a case. Likewise, about 15 states permit common law marriages, but all states recognize a lawfully created common law marriage and will grant a divorce to a common law married couple.

Have the patchwork of same sex marriage and divorce laws across the country affected you or a loved one?

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

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