While much has been made about same-sex divorce after the Supreme Court made the landmark ruling that same-sex marriage would be legal in all states, it’s also having some unanticipated effects on straight couples. One such example occurred in Tennessee just a couple of weeks ago when one judge refused to allow a straight couple to divorce.
According to reports, the judge said that his decision was in reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage. Media outlets reported that the judge in question had not made any “antagonistic rulings” in the past but that his career had been about a “desire for justice, devotion to excellence, commitment to character, love of the law and faith in God.”
The couple involved in the case had been married since November 2002 but cited irreconcilable differences and straying allegiances as the reasons for the split. Their court appearance was scheduled for the judge in July of this year. The couple appeared before the judge, and the divorce proceedings spanned four days, 77 exhibits and seven witnesses, but when it was time to make a ruling, the judge refused to grant the divorce. He claimed that since the U.S. Supreme Court had redefined marriage, the state court must wait until the Supreme Court also decides “when a marriage is no longer a marriage.”
While this is definitely an outlier case, it serves to highlight that divorce is not always as easy as it may seem at first. There can be complications with the filing process, the negotiations throughout and the actual court proceedings, but a family law attorney can help you navigate these aspects.
Source: The Washington Post, “Tenn. judge refuses to grant straight couple a divorce because … gay marriage,” Michael E. Miller, Sep. 04, 2015