Same-sex marriage became legal in Texas in 2015. Along with the legalization of gay marriage came same-sex divorce cases. The courts have the same authority to grant divorces in these marriages as they do for heterosexual couples.
Although the laws that dictate same-sex marriage and divorce are the same as those that apply in any marriage dissolution case, the outcome can have certain differences and nuances in practice. When attempting to navigate divorce laws, it may be best to speak with an experienced Austin same-sex divorce lawyer. Your divorce attorney may serve as a guide and resource throughout this emotional and challenging time in your life.
Child Custody in Same-Sex Divorces
Custody cases can become complicated in any type of divorce, as they often involve detailed information regarding the relationship between the children and their parents as well as an evaluation of the children’s best interests.
Additionally, there might be certain complications depending on the legal relationship between the parent and child. If a party shares a biological relationship with the child or is a legal adoptive parent, they will have the standing to file for custody. However, in some families with same-sex parents, one parent may serve in a caregiver role without having a legal tie to the child. Fortunately, the law anticipates these exceptional cases.
The law allows any caregiver to file for custody as long as they have control and possession over the child in question for at least six months. Additionally, a caregiver must file this petition within 90 days of the original custody suit. Because custody cases can become complicated for same-sex couples, individuals should retain an Austin attorney if they are divorcing their partner.
Alimony for Same-Sex Spouses in Austin
A judge may order alimony when one of the parties financially supports the other, and the spouse who relies on their partner cannot provide for themselves. There are many factors judges review when making the decision regarding alimony.
Some issues courts consider include the parties’ education level and employment experience, earning capabilities, physical and emotional health, whether one party is paying child support, contributions to the marriage as a homemaker, and issues related to marital misconduct. However, one of the relevant factors is the length of the marriage. Such decisions can prove complicated when it comes to same-sex couples who might have lived as married individuals before Texas legalized gay marriage.
These issues can lead to different outcomes depending on the specific facts involved in the case. Someone who is going through a same-sex divorce should talk to an Austin attorney about the potential to pay or receive alimony.
Dividing Property in a Same-Sex Divorce Case
The laws that apply for property division in same-sex divorces are the same as those for any marriage dissolution case. Courts first determine which property is marital and those that the parties own separately. Property acquired before marriage typically belongs to an individual and not to the couple.
Inheritance and gifts also belong to the individual and not the marital estate. If one party is on the title, it might be challenging to prove that both individuals contributed to the property, meaning that it should be a marital and not an individual asset. Divorcing spouses should consult with their lawyers to discuss property division in a same-sex divorce in Austin.
Hiring an Austin Same-Sex Divorce Attorney
Divorce is a highly emotional experience and a challenging time in a person’s life. The process is also technical and legally complex, especially for those who are in a same-sex marriage. Contact our Austin same-sex divorce lawyer today to discuss the specifical legal and technical nuances of your case.