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Same-sex couples now deal with divorce

| Apr 22, 2020 | Divorce

Five years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court removed obstacles to same-sex marriage by ensuring its legality. But same sex couples are now facing some the same issues faced by other married couples, such as divorce. Texas poses some legal challenges for same sex couples who are filing for divorce.

If couples choose to take their case to court in Texas, they may have to deal with the issue of common law or informal marriage. Under state law, two people who lived together as a committed couple could be common-law married. A common law marriage exits if the couple held themselves and told others that they were married, the partners intended and agreed to have a marital relationship and lived as a married couple with a sexual relationship or called someone their partner or other endearing term.

For a same-sex couple ending their marriage, this poses many issues which have not been fully litigated in Texas. First, whether they were in a common-law marriage if they lived together and when did that marriage start.

The late legal recognition of same-sex marriage poses other questions which can impact many divorce matters. Determining when the marriage start is complicated if the couple got a traditional marriage license or married in another state before these marriages were recognized in Texas.

The date that the marriage started can impact matters like spousal support or property division. Personal property may retroactively become community property.

Same-sex couples will also have to consider joint bank accounts, wills, children from blended families, adoption, sperm or egg donors and carriers, tax matters and health and life insurance. There may be community debt such as car loan or credit card that must be paid off.

Collaborative divorce gives couples the opportunity to reach an agreement on these issues. In this process, the parties sign an agreement and provide full disclosure about their assets and debts. Experts assist the couple and their attorneys with reaching an agreement. If the couple cannot reach a settlement, their attorneys resign, and new lawyers take over any litigation.

An attorney can help parties negotiate a settlement and deal with some of these unique issues. They can help seek a fair and reasonable divorce decree.

Five years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court removed obstacles to same-sex marriage by ensuring its legality. But same sex couples are now facing some the same issues faced by other married couples, such as divorce. Texas poses some legal challenges for same sex couples who are filing for divorce.

If couples choose to take their case to court in Texas, they may have to deal with the issue of common law or informal marriage. Under state law, two people who lived together as a committed couple could be common-law married. A common law marriage exits if the couple held themselves and told others that they were married, the partners intended and agreed to have a marital relationship and lived as a married couple with a sexual relationship or called someone their partner or other endearing term.

For a same-sex couple ending their marriage, this poses many issues which have not been fully litigated in Texas. First, whether they were in a common-law marriage if they lived together and when did that marriage start.

The late legal recognition of same-sex marriage poses other questions which can impact many divorce matters. Determining when the marriage start is complicated if the couple got a traditional marriage license or married in another state before these marriages were recognized in Texas.

The date that the marriage started can impact matters like spousal support or property division. Personal property may retroactively become community property.

Same-sex couples will also have to consider joint bank accounts, wills, children from blended families, adoption, sperm or egg donors and carriers, tax matters and health and life insurance. There may be community debt such as car loan or credit card that must be paid off.

Collaborative divorce gives couples the opportunity to reach an agreement on these issues. In this process, the parties sign an agreement and provide full disclosure about their assets and debts. Experts assist the couple and their attorneys with reaching an agreement. If the couple cannot reach a settlement, their attorneys resign, and new lawyers take over any litigation.

An attorney can help parties negotiate a settlement and deal with some of these unique issues. They can help seek a fair and reasonable divorce decree.

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