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Same-sex couple faces divorce issue out of state

When a same sex couple is considering a divorce, it has become increasingly easier to do so in states like Massachusetts where same sex marriage has been legalized. In fact, same sex divorces in Massachusetts are in many ways very similar to those of other marriages. While same sex couples may still face additional complications over issues such as child custody, asset division and tax issues, the practice has become more commonplace.

However, one of the most pressing issues for same sex marriages is divorce in states which have yet to recognize same sex marriages. Consider the case of one couple married in Massachusetts in 2006, who decided to get divorced in 2009. According to court papers from their divorce attempt, the two amicably decided to end their relationship.

Unfortunately for their case, they had moved from Massachusetts to Texas, a state which does not recognize same sex marriages. Now the two individuals appear to be faced with a dilemma, either significantly change their lives and move back to Massachusetts or another state where same sex divorces are available, or live their lives in a state where their marriage cannot be nullified. The two have now filed a case with the Supreme Court of Texas, which will be heard in early November.

This particular situation is not only limited to same sex couples living in Texas, but potentially in up to at least 30 states where same sex marriage is either not recognized or prohibited due to amendments in state constitutions. However, there remains some possibility for individuals in these states to get divorced. After significant legal struggle, a Texas appeals court ruled that one same sex couple would be granted a divorce. In other states, it may be possible to have a divorce granted if handled properly, although it's likely to be challenging.

Source: Slate, "Texas Hold 'Em," Dahlia Lithwick and Sonja West, Sept. 11, 2013

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