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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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