When a marriage is valid in one state and not recognized as legal in another,
how do you get divorced legally if you move to a state that doesn't
recognize your union? This is what occurred in this case of
family law to a transgender man when he moved from Hawaii to Arizona.
The man, who was born a woman, is famous in the media for giving birth
to three children while dressing and behaving as a man. He is being allowed
by the court of appeals to legally divorce his wife to whom he had been
married for 10 years.
The man stopped his testosterone treatments when his wife was unable to
conceive due to a hysterectomy. He was on national television as a man
with a slight beard and a pregnant belly.
This was in 2008 and he had two additional children after this. He filed
for divorce in 2012 because he had a new girlfriend and wanted to marry
her. This is a reversal of a lower court's ruling that since the marriage
was not recognized in Arizona, the divorce wasn't necessary.
The Maricopa County Family Court made the decision in March 2013 to block
the divorce. The divorce was denied because the man did not show he was
a man when he married his wife in 2003 and therefore could not prove that
he and his wife were a heterosexual couple. Later, a panel of three on
the Arizona Court of Appeals decided unanimously to allow the man to become
divorced from his 2003 marriage because it was lawfully entered into while
they were in Hawaii.
It was not deemed void by Arizona law and is considered valid within the
state of Arizona.
The 40-year-old transgender man was born a woman but has been dressing
as a man since he was in his 20s. Thanks to hormone treatments and surgery,
he legally changed his birth certificate and other legal documentation
to show that he is a male.
If you face a divorce, it may not be as dramatic as this, but it certainly
may feel contentious and difficult. Consulting with a professional who
will help you get your share of any assets and protect you against possible
shared debt may be a good idea.
Source: Huffington Post, "'Pregnant Man' Has Right To Divorce Wife, Arizona Court Says" David Schwartz, Aug. 13, 2014