Transgender widow of Wharton Co. firefighter appeals decision that marriage was invalid

Transgender widow of Wharton Co. firefighter appeals decision that marriage was invalid

Credit: HCSO

Nikki Araguz's mugshot

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by khou.com staff

khou.com

Posted on November 14, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 14 at 1:43 PM

WHARTON, Texas – The transgender widow of a Wharton County firefighter appeared in court on Monday to appeal a judge’s ruling that her marriage was invalid.

A judge recently ruled Nikki Araguz’s marriage to Captain Thomas Araguz was not valid because she was born a man, making her ineligible to receive $600,000 in her husband’s death benefits.

Araguz has been fighting with the firefighter’s family over the benefits ever since his death in a blaze at a local egg farm last year.

Thomas Araguz’s family argued that the money should go to the two children he had with his ex-wife.

According to attorneys, it’s likely that the $600,000 in benefits won’t be released until the appeals process is over, and that could take another year.

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