Wednesday, July 2, 2008
It's hard to ignore a marriage dissolution case styled O'Darling v. O'Darling. The parties were "purportedly married" in Canada and one sought dissolution in Oklahoma. However, "[t]he fact that the marriage was between two women was not mentioned at [the] hearing" and the petitioner was referred to in court documents as "him." The trial court learned of the issue when contacted by a reporter from the Tulsa World and then vacated the dissolution order. The party seeking the dissolution (the petitioner) claimed she was denied due process of law as a result.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court held that petitioner and her lawyer had failed to disclose a material fact and controlling legal authority regarding same-sex marriage in Oklahoma. While the court had the power to vacate the dissolution, petitioner was entitled to notice and the right to be heard prior to the entry of the vacatur. The matter was remanded to the trial court to "conduct a hearing, after notice is given to the parties and the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office, allowing Petitioner to argue if there exists facts that entitle her to relief." (Mike Frisch)