Same-sex marriage is now recognized in all 50 States.  But just like any other marriage, same-sex marriages sometimes end in divorce. Due to the fact that same-sex marriage is still a new phenomenon, there are certain complex issues that may come up in your divorce.  For example, child custody and child support and asset division, come with additional complexities that are not usual in opposite-sex divorces.

Same-Sex Divorce Lawyers – Austin, TX

However, the complexity of each divorce is partly determined by the individuals who are breaking up. If you are thinking of getting a divorce, you will need an attorney that is committed to providing personalized advice and solutions for same-sex couples seeking divorce.

Common-Law Marriage For Same-Sex Couples

A common law marriage comes into existence when couples agree to be married, and after that agreement live together as spouses and present themselves to others as a married couple. In July 2015, a Travis County judge recognized a common-law marriage between two women. This was despite the fact that one spouse in the marriage had died in 2014.

While this partly puts to rest questions about whether common law marriage should also apply for same-sex couples, there are still complications.  For example, it is not clear what should happen in a situation where an unmarried same-sex couple has been living together since before July 2015 as a married couple and now want to separate. This can even be more complicated if there are children and significant property involved. You will need a diligent divorce attorney to advocate on your behalf in this situation.

Same-sex couples that were married in other states before the July 15 ruling can only file for divorce in Texas if they have resided in Texas for the previous 12 consecutive months. The divorce can be granted soonest in day 61 after the divorce petition was filed.

Parental Rights

Only one parent’s name appears on the birth certificate if the same-sex couple adopted a child before Texas recognized same-sex marriage.  This can create a number of complications for the parent whose name is not listed on the birth certificate. Fortunately, the Texas Department of Health Vital Statistics division now allows same-sex adoptive parents to request a revised birth certificate that lists both parents.

However, to ensure that children receive benefits that may be available to them and to protect parental rights, the parent who was not part of the initial adoption process should formally adopt the child. This should be done so that if one partner dies, that partner’s family cannot challenge the surviving spouse’s parental rights.

Rights Of Same-Sex Couples

In Texas, same-sex marriages share the same rights that heterosexual marriages have always had.  These include:

  • Alimony or spousal maintenance rights
  • Homestead rights
  • Community property rights
  • Certain reimbursement rights

Same-sex couples and heterosexual couples should do estate planning. Estate planning allows you to appoint guardians for minor children and trustees to manage your property.  It also gives your spouse a durable power of attorney to manage all of your finances if you are incapacitated and controls the disposition of your assets if you die.

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