The ability to seek a divorce is a right that every legally married person in the Phoenix area has. Whether it's by private negotiation with an arbitrator or through the Arizona courts, any spouse can initiate divorce proceedings at any time, ultimately relying on the courts to decide any contentious legal issues ranging from child custody to asset division. But with new gender-related issues cropping up in family law, some cases of divorce and child custody are especially complex.
One such case that may be of interest to Phoenix readers concerns the divorce of a man made famous for having given birth. The man and woman were in court on Jan. 31 seeking a divorce that may not be legally possible under current Arizona state law. The case may seem like a lot of others on the surface, with the normal issues of child custody and even accusations of bad parenting and domestic violence. What makes the case unique, however, is that the husband involved was once a woman.
The judge in the case has questioned the validity of the marriage because both of the spouses were born biological females. The husband has been living as a male since the 1990s, and that span of time covers the entire period of the marriage
If he is still recognized as a woman by the courts, however, then the marriage between the two cannot be legally recognized under Arizona law, meaning that no divorce can take place. The Jan. 31 hearing was business as usual, though, with discussions about child custody and property division. The judge plans to make his ruling on the case by the end of February.
Arizona's laws concerning same-sex marriages may leave citizens of the state who have entered into same-sex marriages seeking recourse in other states should a divorce be necessary. Those with legally recognized marriages can still enter into divorce proceedings as required, but should still be aware the variance in family law from state to state.
Source: AZ Family, "Pregnant man in divorce court for precedent-setting case," Fields Moseley, Feb. 4, 2013