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Same-sex couples face unique issues in a divorce

| Jul 16, 2021 | Family Law |

Same sex marriage was made legal throughout the U.S. in 2015 and since then there have been many same-sex marriages undergone by couples in Texas who have waited years to say their marriage vows and have their union publicly recognized. Just like heterosexual marriages some same sex marriages end in divorce. However, same-sex couples face unique challenges in a divorce that heterosexual couples may not face.

Issues involving alimony

While alimony laws vary by state in general whether alimony will be awarded and if so for how long is determined in part by how long the marriage lasted. This could be problematic if a same-sex couple had been in a committed relationship for many years before being allowed to legally marry. Should alimony be based solely on the years of the legal marriage or should it take into account the years the couple was together even if they could not legally marry? These are issues that need to be worked out in a same-sex divorce.

Issues involving property division

Like alimony, property division is affected by the length of the marriage. Texas is a community property state meaning that each spouse has an equal ownership interest in any assets acquired during the course of the marriage. The problem, again, is that a couple may have been in a committed union long before they were able to legally marry. Should the assets they accumulated together during those years be considered marital or separate property? These are questions same-sex couples in a divorce face that their heterosexual counterparts may not.

Issues involving child custody

Many same-sex couples raise a child together whether the child is adopted by one spouse only or whether one spouse used a surrogate or sperm donor to conceive a biological child. However, unless the non-biological spouse took the step of adopting the child, the child for legal purposes may only be the child of the biological or adoptive parent. This could cause problems when a same-sex couple divorces as a parent who has no biological or legal ties to the child may not be able to obtain custody or visitation rights.

Learn more about divorce in Texas

Same-sex divorce presents unique challenges, but there are some issues that are common in any divorce, including spousal support, property division and child custody. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s webpage on same-sex divorce in Texas may be of interest to those seeking to leave an unhappy marriage.