How Can Same-Sex Divorces Differ?

Our Pearland, TX divorce attorney explains how, while federal law protects same-sex marriage rights, LGBTQ couples often face different and more complex issues in divorce.

Same-sex marriage rights were hard in the Lone Star State, and it has been less than 10 years since they could legally wed. Unfortunately, this can create challenges in divorce proceedings. Our Pearland, TX divorce attorney explains how same-sex divorce differs from other cases and the often complex issues that must be addressed. 

Common Issues in a Same-Sex Divorce in Texas

Same-sex marriage became legal in Texas, and in other states across the country, as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court case of Obergefell v Hodges in 2015. This formerly entitled LGBTQ people to the same rights as any other married couple. However, it fails to recognize that many had been living together for decades prior or address some of the complex situations they face in divorce. The following are three common issues that are likely to arise in these cases:

1. Equitable Division of Marital Property.

Texas is a community property state. This means married couples share equal ownership of any property and assets accumulated by either party during the marriage. However, rather than dividing everything 50/50, the Texas Statutes aim at arrangements that are ‘just and right.’

For same-sex couples, there may be significant amounts of non-marital property not subject to equitable division . This could put one or both people at a disadvantage. Fortunately, common law marriage is recognized under state law, which could protect them in this situation.

2. Spousal Support

Similar to problems with property division, the fact that same-sex marriage was only legalized in 2015 could create problems in regard to spousal support , otherwise known as alimony. One spouse may be entitled to these payments if they make significantly less than the other or sacrificed their own career or education in support of their partner. However, as alimony determinations depend, in part, on the length of time the couple was married, this could create obstacles in same-sex divorce cases.

3. Child Custody

One of the most complex issues dealt with in divorce proceedings through the Brazoria County Courts is the issue of child custody . It can be particularly difficult and potentially heartbreaking in same-sex divorce cases.

The fact that only one of the parties can be the child’s biological parent may put the other at a distinct disadvantage. Under state law, there is no obligation to include someone who is not either a biological or adoptive parent in custody arrangements, and, as a result, they have few rights in these proceedings.

Reach Out to Our Pearland, TX, Same-Sex Divorce Attorney

At the law office of John Powell III, P.C. , we protect the rights of same-sex couples in Brazoria County divorce proceedings. To get the caring support and professional legal representation you need in this type of case, reach out and call or contact our Pearland same-sex divorce attorney online to request a confidential consultation.