Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Griner and Johnson -- will it be same-sex divorce or annulment?

Massachusetts readers may be interested in a court battle in another state that may set a precedent in same-sex divorce cases. This case involves Glory Johnson and Brittney Griner, two women who would likely prefer to make headlines for their prowess as WNBA players rather than the airing of their same-sex divorce issues. After a marriage of only 28 days, the two basketball players wanted to end it, but they had different ideas on how to do that.

Griner claims she was pressured into the marriage by Johnson and also that Johnson was unfaithful during their brief marriage. She contends that these facts constitute duress and fraud, making an annulment a viable option. She does not want to receive or pay alimony and also wants Johnson not to occupy their family home. She filed for annulment or dissolution if an annulment is not possible.

Johnson, who is going through an IVF pregnancy with twins, wants a divorce because an annulment would not allow spousal maintenance. She wants Griner to pay monthly alimony of $20,000 and continue payments on her car during divorce proceedings. Furthermore, she seeks continued access to the family home because it is in the same state as the doctors who are providing medical care during her high-risk pregnancy. Johnson also claims that there was no duress or fraud committed, which are the requirements for an annulment.

This same-sex divorce -- or annulment -- is not expected to be finalized before the birth of the twins, which could make it even more complicated. Same-sex spouses in Massachusetts who are experiencing marital issues may benefit greatly from each retaining the services of an attorney who focuses on same-sex family law. A lawyer will have a comprehensive knowledge of same-sex marriage and divorce laws and will provide the necessary guidance and support that may resolve the issues in an amicable way.

Source: ktar.com, "Legally Speaking: Brittney Griner divorce case could set same-sex precedent", Monica Lindstrom, July 15, 2015

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