State denies transgender man's divorce

New Jersey couples who have the right to marry also have the right to divorce. Most of the time, states allow men and women to divorce with few questions asked. However, in some cases, circumstances restrict married couples' ability to get a divorce.

Before a married couple is allowed to divorce, the state must first recognize the marriage. For one transgender man, this rule is preventing him from divorcing his wife. Even after the husband began taking testosterone treatments and had his breasts removed, he retained the female reproductive organs he was born with and gave birth to the couple's three children.

Because he was able to bear children, the state ruled that he is not truly a man and therefore cannot divorce a woman. The state also argued that he does not have sufficient evidence to prove that he was a man at the time of the marriage, which took place in another state; however, the man said that he had valid documentation to show that he was male.

The man and his estranged wife plan to appeal the court's decision. The man is in an extramarital relationship with another woman, but the reason for the couple's decision to end their marriage is unknown. If they are eventually granted a divorce, the husband will likely be responsible for paying child support. The man and his girlfriend plan to continue their relationship and may move out of state.

In order to get a divorce, the man may have to establish residency in the state where he was married. Sometimes couples who are ending their marriage face discrimination. For this reason, divorcing couples may want to seek the help of an attorney who can ensure that their rights are protected.

Source: ABC News, "'Pregnant Man' Thomas Beatie Will Appeal Divorce Denial," Alyssa Newcomb, April 2, 2013