same-sex couple

Non-traditional couples may face unique legal issues

For many same-sex couples in Massachusetts, issues of marriage and divorce can become complicated. These matters can become exponentially more complex when a couple chooses to relocate to a state in which same-sex marriage is not recognized. In such cases, non-traditional couples are often confronted with legal issues that differ from those faced by heterosexual couples. This may be the case for reality television host David Tutera, whom readers may know for his role on the show ‘My Fair Wedding.’ Tutera married his husband ten years ago, but the couple relocated to a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage. They are now seeking to end their marriage, and are also facing a child custody battle. The couple is currently working with a surrogate who is carrying twins scheduled to be born in July. However, the men have been separated since Jan. 2013, and are currently seeking to end their union. Tutera’s husband is asking for full custody of the twins, and has recently gone public with accusations that Tutera has an addiction to sex. He further claims that Tutera frequently uses the services of escorts and prostitutes to conduct sexual activity. As this case moves through the legal process, the men will likely face issues that confront all non-traditional couples, including difficulties divorcing in a state that does not allow same-sex marriage. The matter of child custody may move forward in a separate proceeding, and each side will have the chance to present a legal argument as to why

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Same-sex marriage issues: No divorce for transgendered man

Massachusetts readers may remember media coverage of the ‘pregnant man’ that made the rounds a few years ago. The individual in question is a transgendered man who has been legally married to a woman since 2003. When his wife was unable to become pregnant, he made the decision to carry the couple’s three children. The marriage faltered in recent years, however, leading both spouses to seek a divorce. Their desire to divorce has proved troublesome. This is due to the fact that while they were legally married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, they later relocated to one that does not. As a result, their divorce has encountered a number of legal challenges, and has seemingly stalled out following a recent hearing on the matter. An Arizona judge recently ruled that the couple cannot be divorced in that state, due to the fact that there is state ban on gay marriage. In making that decision, the judge heard evidence that the man in question underwent testosterone treatments as well as elective surgery to transform himself into a man. However, the judge ruled that the man did not make any subsequent non-surgical efforts, and halted hormone therapy at some point prior to the hearing. As this case demonstrates, same-sex couples often have to negotiate legal processes that are far more complicated than those that heterosexual couples may encounter, in Massachusetts and elsewhere. When a gay or transgendered couple relocates to a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage, significant legal

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Same-sex couple struggles to divorce, hits legal roadblock

Virtually all of America has become embroiled in the debate over the rights of same-sex couples to marry. When considering the issue, the focus is on the rights of people who love one another to form legally binding family units that share the same rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples. It is often forgotten that other legal rights are also connected to the right to marry in Massachusetts, namely, the right to divorce. When a same-sex marriage is solidified in one state, and the couple chooses to reside in a different state, the divorce process can become complicated. That is because states that do not recognize same-sex marriages have no legal basis to issue same-sex divorces. This scenario is currently being played out in a widely covered divorce case involving a transgendered man and his wife. The couple made the news previously due to the fact that the husband, who has undergone hormone therapy and has had his driver’s license changed to reflect his status as a male, made the decision to give birth to the couple’s three children. Multiple television appearances and a book deal followed. When the couple decided to divorce, they encountered difficulty when the family court judge raised questions about the nature of their marriage. At issue in the case is whether the husband is to be legally considered a man or a woman. The issue is further clouded, at least in the mind of the judge, by the fact that the husband has gestated three children

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Same-sex marriage an issue in ‘Pregnant Man’ divorce

Many in Massachusetts may recall the nationwide coverage of a transgender man who has given birth to three children with his wife of nine years. The couple is now facing a divorce proceeding. Their divorce, however, requires the court to ponder issues of gender identity, and the couple now find themselves embroiled within the current controversy over gay marriage and divorce. The husband in this case was born female, but has undergone extensive surgery over the years, including a recent “final female-to-male gender reassignment surgery” which took place after the couple separated. He went through the legal process to have the state authorize his sex change, and obtained the required documentation prior to the couple’s 2003 wedding. He has also had his birth certificate and passport reissued to identify him as a male. When the couple split, the husband was granted temporary full custody over their three children after he showed video of his wife attacking him. The two are ready to move forward with their divorce proceeding, but have hit a bump in the courts. Despite all of his efforts to establish himself as a man, the judge who is presiding over the case has expressed doubt concerning how to proceed, and is still deliberating about the issue. This case will likely make new headlines in Massachusetts once the court determines how to proceed with the divorce filing. Same-sex marriage is not legal in the state in which the couple resides. Therefore, if the judge deems that the husband

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Why divorce for Boston’s same-sex couples is both more and less complicated

Massachusetts is one of the few states in the U.S. that allows same-sex marriage. Regardless of how you feel about that, it is true that allowing same-sex couples to marry can greatly simplify some legal aspects of their lives together. One of those aspects is the end of the relationship, be that by divorce or the death of one of the partners. Take the case of two men from Minnesota. Although the partners of 25 years were married in San Francisco, Minnesota did not recognize their union. So when one of the men died unexpectedly at 46 without a will, the state’s default estate plan meant that his partner did not have legal standing the same way a wife would and thus did not automatically inherit anything. The surviving partner is now locked in a prolonged and complicated court battle in an attempt to recover what he believes should be his. Although such a scenario would not play out in Massachusetts, that doesn’t mean we have all legal elements relating to same-sex marriage smoothed out completely. If a same-sex couple wants to get a divorce, it can be trickier than a divorce for a heterosexual couple for several reasons. For example, because gay men and women were not allowed to marry in our state for so long, many couples have been unmarried partners for a long time, which makes their marriages look artificially short. That has implications for things like property division and spousal support. Finding an attorney who understands

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Same-sex couples rights affirmed when lesbian mom files paternity

Unfortunately, same-sex couples’ rights are sadly lacking in many parts of the country. While in Massachusetts, same-sex marriage is allowed and seen positively, in other places many of the same-sex couples’ rights are denied. Fortunately, in one state, clear progress can be seen when a lesbian mother has been allowed to file a paternity suit for her child in a groundbreaking case. Two lesbians had decided to make a family in 2006 in which they would adopt two biological daughters. Because at that time their state didn’t allow them to adopt the children as a lesbian couple, they each legally adopted a girl and raised the two together. However, in 2009, all of this changed. After the women decided to separate, one of the women moved to Norway, taking her legal daughter and leaving behind the girl’s sister and her shocked ex, who had not expected this drastic move. The two sisters didn’t even have the chance to say goodbye to one another. After investigating the various legal options available to her, the woman in the United States, fought for child custody by filing a paternity suit. While paternity suits are typically filed by fathers seeking to spend time with their children, a state law had passed which allowed for non-biological fathers to seek custody. After discussing the case, a judge ruled that the paternity suit was valid since it would be discriminatory to allow non-biological fathers to sue but not non-biological mothers. Massachusetts has traditionally been ahead of the

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Residency requirements open doors for same-sex divorces

A complex legal issue that is popping up in different states and continues to be addressed in the courts was discussed here previously on the blog. We have news about another new important case involving same-sex marriage and divorce laws. A Rhode Island man is in the midst of trying to divorce his husband after getting married in Massachusetts. Because of Rhode Island’s current laws pertaining to same-sex marriage and divorce, he was forced to move to another state to pursue a divorce. The man decided to move across the state line to Massachusetts and live there for a year before he would be able to file for divorce. However, there is new legislation pending in Rhode Island, according to a local media report that would simplify this matter for people with the same situation. If the new Rhode Island bill passes, any couple could file for a divorce in Rhode Island even if their marriage is not recognized as legal in the state. This would solve the problem faced by same-sex couples who jump state lines in order to establish residency so they can pursue a divorce and not be trapped in marital limbo. Although Rhode Island is not a gay marriage state, it did pass a civil union law in 2011. That piece of legislation provided a legal means for dissolution of a civil union. Whether a person is dissolving a civil union or seeking a divorce from a spouse, he or she will need to ensure that,

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No divorce marriage: Gay couples challenge Texas divorce law

What defines “marriage”? The Texas Supreme Court has to evaluate that very question. They are charged with the task of deciding whether they ought to continue defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman. In essence, theirs is the task of deciding whether or not gay marriage ought to be legal in that state. Currently, two cases involving same-sex couples who married in Massachusetts and filed for divorce in Texas are before the courts. Because gay marriage is illegal in Texas, it is also illegal to divorce a same-sex couple in that state. Texas courts can declare the marriage void, but they cannot grant a divorce — at least not yet. The two couples married in Massachusetts are pushing for change in Texas. However, for a gay divorce to be granted, the state would have to recognize that the marriage was valid in the first place. In 2005, a constitutional amendment that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman was approved by 76 percent of Texas voters. The Texas Family Code also similarly defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Because of those definitions, Texas courts can only grant divorces in cases where the marriage fits into those parameters. Therefore, same-sex couples do not qualify either for marriages or divorces. Same-sex couples’ rights have been a hot topic across the United States in recent years. It is a polarizing issue that has caused heated debate. Laws are not static;

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