As of June 26, 2015, same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. Same-sex couples in Texas face many of the same issues as heterosexual couples, as well as some unique concerns. Any same-sex couples wishing to marry in Texas should know what to expect after filing for a marriage certificate, and how an experienced Austin family law attorney can help. For same-sex couples who wish to start families by adopting children in Texas, an adoption attorney can help handle the enormous amount of adoption paperwork, and legal entanglements adoption typically entails.
Abraham Kant at SSJM Family Law has extensive experience handling family law matters for our clients in Texas. We understand same-sex couples have a myriad of concerns before tying the knot or adopting children. Our legal team gets to know every client and the details of their cases to provide the most comprehensive representation possible. Our firm also offers free consultations to potential new clients, and we are available to help LGBTQ couples in Texas with their family law-related matters.
The marriage process for same-sex couples in Texas is generally the same as the process for heterosexual couples. The first step is filing for a marriage license at a county clerk’s office. Texas requires a 72 hour waiting period after filing for a marriage certification before the marriage can take place. The couple must obtain a marriage license before they can complete a ceremonial marriage. After receiving a license, the couple must conduct the wedding ceremony within 31 days.
The marriage license application is a sworn statement, and the marrying partners must provide documentation proving they are eligible to marry. A few of the restrictions in Texas that may prevent a marriage from going forward include:
After the 72 hour waiting period, a Justice of the Peace or religious official may perform the marriage ceremony. It’s important for same-sex couples to remember that while no government official may refuse to perform a marriage ceremony on the basis of discrimination against same-sex couples, some religions do not approve of same-sex marriage and their officials may decline to perform such marriages on religious grounds. However, this is an individual choice, and many religious officials in Texas are open to performing same-sex marriages.
Same-sex couples who wish to start families typically turn to adoption. It’s also possible for one of the partners to have a biological child from a previous relationship or marriage. The process of adopting a stepchild is generally much more straightforward than a couple adopting a child from an adoption agency or out of foster care. However, any type of adoption can incur significant expense and require tremendous amounts of paperwork. Retaining a qualified Austin adoption lawyer can help guide you through the process.
Divorce proceedings in Texas follow the same marital laws for both heterosexual and same-sex couples. Same-sex couples can file for divorce at any county clerk office, regardless of where they reside in the state. They must satisfy one of the legal grounds for divorce in order to qualify for a petition.
The state gives the same marital property rights to LGBTQ couples and heterosexual couples as well. When a same-sex couple seeks a divorce, all of their shared assets and debts are subject to division by the court. The couple must have acquired their shared assets and debts in the time period between their marriage date to the date of divorce. Same-sex couples also have the same prenuptial agreement rights. Texas courts will honor all prenups, even if they were prepared in another state.
While LGBTQ couples may receive the same rights to divorce under Texas law, the proceedings are not simple. Divorces are complex and involve numerous factors, including child custody rights, alimony, support payments, and fair asset division. Same-sex couples seeking a divorce can enlist the services of an Austin LGBTQ divorce attorney to assist them through the process and protect their rights.
LGBTQ couples in Texas have the right to marry and start families just like any other married couple. They may require legal assistance along the way. An experienced Austin family law attorney can help with several aspects of LGBTQ marriage. Some aspects may include obtaining a license, establishing prenuptial agreements, and adoption concerns.
The legal team at SSJM Family Law is available to help LGBTQ couples with their marriage concerns and other legal matters. We offer our potential new clients free consultations, so contact our office today to schedule a case evaluation and meet with one of our attorneys.