In 2002, a woman who was born Tracy Lagondino reportedly underwent surgery to become a man. Around the same time, the transgender man also began male hormone therapy and had his upper body contoured into that of a man. Although Thomas Trace Beatie was legally declared a male, his female reproductive organs were allegedly left intact. Soon after, Beatie reportedly married and began a family. Not long after Beatie learned his wife, Nancy, was physically unable to become pregnant, he decided to carry the couple’s children. Beatie soon became a nationwide celebrity known as the “pregnant man.” Eventually, Beatie gave birth to three children. As occurs in about half of all United States marriages, 38-year-old Beatie and his wife of nine years are now asking a court to dissolve their marriage.
While Beatie and his estranged spouse attempt to work out the details associated with the end of their marriage, a Maricopa County, Arizona Superior Court judge, Douglas Gerlach, has reportedly called the couple’s legal union into question due to the fact that Beatie gave birth to their three children. In the State of Arizona, a court will not recognize a same-sex marriage, even if it was performed legally in another state.
Despite that Beatie’s birth certificate and driver’s license now state he is a man, Judge Gerlach has said Beatie is the biological mother of the couple’s children by any reasonable legal standard he can come up with. Because of his misgivings over the couple’s legal status, the judge even asked the Arizona Attorney General’s Office to weigh in on the matter. The Attorney General, however, reportedly declined to issue an opinion regarding the former couple’s marriage. Judge Gerlach is expected to make a determination regarding the couple’s marital status in February 2013. Still, the judge stated he will divide the former couple’s assets and determine child custody even if he refuses to dissolve their marriage.
As demonstrated by this case, same-sex marriage is a quickly evolving area of family law in both California and throughout the nation. If you are considering entering into a domestic partnership or same-sex marriage, you should speak with a committed attorney who can explain your rights and help you protect your interests.
If you have questions regarding child custody or other stressful family law matters, please contact Doppelt and Forney, APLC today. Mr. Doppelt is a dedicated San Diego family lawyer who has more than 20 years of experience assisting clients in Southern California. He helps same-sex couples navigate domestic partnership and marriage laws in our state. Mr. Doppelt also counsels former couples through the often emotional process of both legal separation and divorce. Doppelt and Forney, APLC serves clients in Encinitas, Linda Vista, Scripps Ranch, San Diego, and throughout Southern California. For a free consultation with a knowledgeable family law attorney, please do not hesitate to contact Doppelt and Forney, APLC through the law firm’s website or give us a call toll-free at (800) ROY IS IT (769-4748).
Technology May Help Streamline Child Custody Coordination in California, Nationwide, San Diego Divorce Lawyer Blog, November 27, 2012
New California Law Allows Abused Spouse to Avoid Paying Legal Fees for Jailed Former Husband, San Diego Divorce Lawyer Blog, November 13, 2012
‘Pregnant Man’s’ divorce case leaves judge in doubt, by Michael Kiefer, USA Today