In 2015, when the Supreme Court of the United States found state bans on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional in Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex marriage, as well as same-sex divorce, became legal in Texas. This is true whether or not the divorcing couple was married in Texas.
This area of the law is new and because of the unique complications in a same-sex marriage, you need a well-schooled, compassionate divorce attorney to help you come out of the legal wrangling intact and ready to restart your life. If you reside in the Dallas-Fort Worth vicinity, the Youngberg Law Firm in Corinth is as accessible as it is reliable. Mike Youngberg is dedicated to making sure that you receive justice from the court system and your ex-spouse. He is a keen negotiator and powerful litigator and will approach your case with personal attention and provide you with the support you deserve.
Common-Law Marriage and Divorce in Texas
Texas has allowed “common-law” marriages for a great many years for couples who cohabitate in the state of Texas, agree to be married, and hold themselves out to the community as spouses. Same-sex couples who were not permitted to obtain a marriage license until recently may have been married in one of the states that permitted marriage, or may have entered into a civil union, or may simply have agreed that they were married and referred to each other that they were married, even though the law did not recognize it. This makes many same-sex divorces more complicated. Before the Obergefell decision couples may have done any number of things to pronounce their commitment to one another, and but because of the state’s delay in recognizing their commitments, it is more complicated than looking at the marriage license to determine when the couple was wed.
Importance of the Date of Marriage to Divorce Arrangements
The State of Texas allows for informal marriage and is a community property state so the character of some of your assets will be determined by the date the couple married. The date of the marriage, for example, affects which of the couple’s assets are community property, owned by both parties equally, and which are separate property, owned by one spouse individually. Determining the appropriate date of the marriage in same-sex divorce cases can be especially difficult, as parties may have been married informally even before the Obergefell decision, which can cause serious property division issues.
Child Custody and Support Arrangements in Same-Sex Divorce
Decisions about child custody and visitation arrangements are not easy in any divorce, but they are often especially complicated when same-sex marriages reach their endpoint. Separating a family is painful in the best of circumstances, but in same-sex marriages, the situation can be legally ambiguous. While this ambiguity used to be a factor in some heterosexual divorces, paternity testing can now verify the biological father.
If the divorce is entirely amicable, the couple may ask for, and be granted, joint custody, or may agree on another custody/visitation agreement that will work well for them and their children. The trouble is, as we all know, divorce is rarely all that amicable; most divorcing spouses experience anger, disappointment, frustration, jealousy and/or a sense of betrayal. In all too many cases, rage and even hate are part of the emotional package. When negative feelings run this high, parenthood of both partners that may have been taken for granted for many years, is suddenly a point of dispute.
In worst-case scenarios, it is possible that a vengeful biological parent in a same-sex divorce may try to deny not only custody but visitation to the non-biological primary caregiver or that the non-biological parent who has been the primary wage earner of the family will try to walk away from his or her financial responsibility. If you find yourself in such an awful situation, come to the Youngberg Law Firm for legal representation to protect you and your children.
Adoption for Non-Biological Parents in a Same-Sex Divorce
Traditionally, Texas state law has made it difficult or impossible for same-sex couples to adopt, but recently more individual courts are allowing the process. At the Youngberg Law Firm, we are fully committed to supporting your right as a gay person to adopt a child not biologically related to you whether it is your spouse’s child or not. If you have adopted your spouse’s child, even if the adoption took place in another state, you have full parental rights to custody or visitation.
Contact Our Denton County Same-Sex Divorce Lawyer
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court decision simply did delve into the legal parentage in same-sex relationships when it ruled on Obergefell v. Hodges. For this reason, even the most highly skilled same-sex divorce attorneys in Texas may have to overcome the obstacle of a lack of legal precedent in your particular case.
For this reason, it is extremely important to engage the services of an astute same-sex divorce attorney like Mike Youngberg. Having personally handled same-sex divorces so he is well-prepared to come up with an innovative strategy for your unique case. Contact us as soon as possible so we can help you with your case. We will work tirelessly to bring your same-sex divorce to a conclusion that benefits you and is the best interests of your child.