First Same-Sex Divorce Filed In Shelby Courts

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(Memphis) More than 3,000 divorces are filed in Shelby County each year, but this week the courts got their first ever divorce filed by a same sex couple.

"It's the first of its type in Tennessee, that I'm aware of and certainly the first in Shelby County," said Linley Richter, Jr., Plaintiff's attorney.

Richter filed a complaint on behalf of his client, Wendy Jones.

He says she knows this will be far from a quickie divorce because Tennessee doesn't recognize her same sex marriage.

"She's aware of the notoriety that this case is going to bring and she's aware of the difficulty but again this is the only place she can get divorced. She either gets divorced here or she stays married," said Richter.

According to the divorce papers, Wendy Jones married Lisa Frommel in New Hampshire, October 2011.

The Memphis couple separated three months later, and now Jones wants a divorce based on irreconcilable differences.

"Same sex marriages are prohibited in Tennessee so same sex divorces are prohibited in Tennessee but this is the first case that's been filed in Shelby County so that's yet to be finally determined," said Shelby County Divorce Referee, Cary Woods.

Woods says he's put the state's attorney general on notice because granting a divorce will mean changing the state's constitution that defines marriage being between a man and a woman, not two women.

"They're kind of stuck in a Catch 22. They can't get divorced based on the constitutional amendment in Tennessee and based on statute but this is the only state where they could be divorced," said Richter.

Richter says you can only get a divorce in a state where you legally reside.

He believes it may take appeals to get the divorce granted and those appeals may take this landmark Shelby County case all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

There is a similar case in Mississippi.

A DeSoto County judge rejected a request for another same sex female couple's divorce there.

Since the state doesn't allow gay marriage, they said they had no jurisdiction to grant a divorce. An appeal is in the works.

However, just last month the U.S. Supreme Court made it possible for same sex couples to divorce in Utah.


  • Steve Tapp

    Seems to me Wendy Jones needs to go back to New Hampshire and get divorced there rather than trying to change our law. Is that just not “convenient”? Too expensive?

    • BamBam84

      If they can’t get divorced here, they can’t get divorced here. They need to obey the LAWS in place and head back to NEW HAMPSHIRE. Seems to be nothing more than a publicity scheme on a slow news day. So far.

      • Don

        If they go back to New Hampshire and stay. Good Riddance as Tennesse doesn’t need them. There are enough freaks here already.

    • observer

      NH is a cesspool of braindead liberal idiots. Your entire state is hardly ever acknowledged except for about 6 weeks every four years. Go crawl back into your cave and take these two militant activists with you.

      • Philomena

        Hmmm. I can see that you are a bully and there is not much point in arguing with a bully. Whatever. Maybe NH isn’t that big in the news…although we were just voted best place to live in the country. Wonder why Tennessee wasn’t given that honor?

  • Don

    According to the divorce papers, Wendy Jones married Lisa Frommel in New Hampshire, October 2011.

    This same thing happened in Mississippi recently, The judge advised the freaks to travel to California since that is where they made there mistake. I wonder why the Judge in Shelby County.
    Typical Memphis non gonads.

  • Lady Elle

    If you didn’t get married here, you can’t divorce from here. Sounds like they need to take a trip back to New Hampshire.

    • Sue

      The above evidence seems to suggest you’re right Philomena. Reading this is like watching a period drama. Without the costumes.

      • leavingheresoon

        Google iq by state, it’s simply not their fault.

        I just hope kids questioning their sexuality don’t read these comments. It’s hard enough to feel different without reading such negative, hateful remarks, some of which are posted by “Chrsitians.” If god is real, this isn’t how he’d want people spreading his word.

        Btw I’m a female happily married to my wonderful husband, but I support females with wives and males with husbands all the same. :)

    • observer

      @ leaving here soon

      You are to blame for the moral decay in this country. Good riddance to you and your idiocy. are you in support of four men/four women marriage, or two men/six women marriage, or groups of ppl that just want to marry one another?
      WHy are you such a bigot against group marriages? Changing the definintions of time-valued institutions does not do them any service, except it tears them down and creates a counterfeit standard.

      • leavingheresoon

        You are going to tell me about morals? LOL! You called me an idiot because I have a different opinion than you. Is that really the high road?

        And to think… all this negativity because you can’t control who someone else chooses to be with… bet you just can’t stand it. Don’t worry about someone else’s life choices if it doesn’t affect you. I’m pretty sure the bible indicates that all judging should be left to God, it’s not your job or place to condemn others. Now that you’ve been relieved of this duty, you should have a lot of free time, so you’re most welcome!

        Finally, I know you aren’t sorry, but I forgive you. You were probably raised that way so it’s not your fault. Its a pity.

  • Philomena

    I think they are hiding behind the Christian label – much easier to spout hatred and bigotry if you blame it on God.

  • The Banker

    I am adopted and my Mom has loved my brother and I so that I know no difference. People make assumptions. I know that any teacher that has taught me would also argue many points. My Mom has carried us through difficult times. We pray and read the bible every day. We also have a drawer that stays open in our house. It is, “The God Drawer.” We don’t forget about God after Sunday. My Mom has lived in the South all of her life. I have been with her since the day I was born. It was before 2011. In my life I have only known love. I see hate here. I try to be the smartest boy ever. We have learned to serve our community. I am sorry I read these comments before bed because you don’t know my Mom like I do. I hope to stay and make my town a better place. I am smart, but maybe some of you need to check your heart. The one thing I am most sure of is that my Mom loves us unconditionally. Lisa is not my Mom, but I rather have a whole lot of love from from my Mom and who is in our life than love from people who are not kind. I do know this and I am not even in middle school my Mom has friends that believe in abortion and she does not. I was almost aborted by my birth mom. I hope some judge does let her get a divorce here. This is home. Coming here is seeing more hate and meanness than I have ever seen. I am sorry that you really don’t know my mom.

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