There has been change, controversy and confusion abound when it comes to same-sex family law. However, the divorce attorneys at Bineham & Gillen stay up-to-date on the latest legal developments about gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships. We’ll help you understand how the law applies to you, your partner and your family.
Generally, the same concerns that involve family law also apply to same-sex family law. However, same-sex partners do not have all the legal protections that husbands and wives do. Marriage of opposite- and same-sex couples requires a commitment that affects all areas of your life, long after a divorce or separation. When thinking about such partnerships and possible legal contracts, it is a good idea to have a qualified lawyer draft them for you.
How do you know if you can file for divorce? LGBTQ divorces, like opposite-sex divorces, have a couple of important requirements. You are eligible to file for divorce in Texas if:
- You or your spouse resided in Texas for the last 6 months
- You’ve resided in the county you’re filing in for the last 90 day
Fault vs. No-Fault
You also need to decide if you want to file a fault or no-fault divorce. While the filing fee is the same, this decision could change the proceedings of your divorce drastically. A fault divorce labels one of the spouses at fault (abuse, abandonment, cruelty, infidelity, etc.) and can affect anything from the length of the divorce to child custody agreements.
Common-law marriages are the main gray area that same-sex divorces can struggle with. While all states are legally required to recognize same-sex marriages, common-law marriages are slightly different. If you entered into a common-law marriage, a divorce gets a little trickier. You will have to prove several things:
- That you and your partner agreed to get married
- That you are not married to anyone else
- You were both at least 18 years of age at the time of marriage
- You demonstrated that you were married to others
- You lived in Texas as a married couple
Since Texas is a community property state, both spouses could own property if it was acquired during the marriage. Knowing the exact date of the start of your common-law marriage could help settle any disputes.