BREAKING DIVORCE NEWS: When love turns to hate it doesn’t matter if it is heterosexual or same sex, there’s going to be drama. In Santa Fe, a case was recently in front of the court involving a lesbian couple who got married six years ago. Officialwire.com:
Karla JaNelle Haught and Angela Marie Carrejo are disputing ownership of two properties, a home in Santa Fe and a ranch in Rio Arriba County on the Colorado border. Haught, who received both from her parents, argues Carrejo is not entitled to share in them because they were never legally married.
Not too sure about whether gifts from her parents to CarrejoHaught automatically becomes separate property or marital property in New Mexico. In New York they are separate property unless it was expressly given to both spouses. And even if given to just one spouse, that spouse’s behavior can turn a separate property into a marital property if it is commingled with joint assets.
Still, that was a cute move by Carrejo Haught trying to say the marriage was illegal, knowing full well that all along she considered herself this woman’s wife. And I suspect a lot of same sex couples will try to get out of their financial obligations once a marriage implodes by using this lame argument. Some folks want to have their cake and eat it too and Carrejo was one of those. She had some nerve trying to say she wasn’t married to this woman just to get out of paying her. I mean, come on, they had a valid marriage license, didn’t they?
According to Officialwire.com:
The license was one of 66 Sandoval County Clerk Victoria Dunlap issued to same-sex couples in a single day in 2004 before the state attorney general convinced her to stop. District Court Judge Sarah Singleton ruled Monday the licenses were “not void from the inception but merely voidable,” The Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
The couple then lived together as wife and wife till this year when the marriage broke down. At that point, carrejo wanted to marriage declared a nullity to avoid having to pay spousal support and share the marital assets. Slick, isn’t she? But the judge was not stupid and let her know in no uncertain terms that she was married to this woman and that she would be treated as any other spouse under the law and that she would have to divide the assets. Again, Officialwire.com:
Under New Mexican law, gay marriage is not legal but is not expressly banned. Singleton said she believes the only marriage license that would have no legal force would be one for an incestuous marriage.
So there is a big difference between a void marriage and a voidable marriage. That’s really the thing. Same sex marriages in New Mexico are voidable. They are not automatically void like incestuous marriages which are void ab initio. The thing with a voidable marriage is that there are circumstances which could mitigate against it being held a nullity. In this case, Carrejo Haught and her wife were grandfathered into the group who married before the attorney general stepped in. So this marriage, while now illegal, can still stand in New Mexico because at the time it was entered into it was perfectly legal.