A lawyer for a Dallas man who petitioned to divorce from his same-sex partner has announced that his client will pursue an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court. We discussed the facts of his case in a previous blog, A Brief Examination of In the Matter of the Marriage of J.B. and H.B.
The gay couple married in Massachusetts in 2006 and moved to Texas. Citing irreconcilable difference, the couple attempted to divorce in Texas in 2008. In 2009, a Texas district court judge initially allowed the divorce petition to proceed, but she was overturned with Attorney General Greg Abbott intervened in the matter and appealed it to the Fifth District Court of Appeals. Ultimately, the Texas appellate court concluded that Texas district courts do not have subject matter jurisdiction over same-sex marriage or divorce cases, and thus, same-sex couples cannot seek a divorce in Texas courts.
According to a report in the Dallas Voice, petitioner J.B. will seek an extension on the deadline to appeal the Fifth District Court of Appeals decision. If the extension is granted, J.B.’s attorney will file a petition for review with the Texas Supreme Court in February.
The Texas high court must then decide whether to hear the appeal. If the Texas Supreme Court declines to review the lower court’s decision, then the decision that J.B. and H.B. cannot divorce in Texas will be final unless one of the parties appeals that decision to the United States Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to review the matter.
If the Texas Supreme Court agrees to review the lower court’s decision, it will likely be many more months before it hears legal arguments from the parties and issues an opinion on whether Texas courts can issue same-sex divorces. Thus, J.B. and H.B.’s long drawn out attempt to divorce will continue. While the hoops and hurdles that this couple have faced in divorce courts are rare, the drain on emotional and financial resources during a divorce are not.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …