Same-Sex Marriage Legal Issues
Property, Divorce and Child Issues Facing Same-Sex Couples
The Supreme Court’s landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision in 2015 on same-sex marriage was greeted as a victory for marriage equality, but married same-sex couples are grappling with conflicting state laws pertaining to the dissolution of those marriages and how the courts will apply dissolution statutes and common law to same-sex couples and their children.
Moreover, the State of Texas continues to try and roll back spousal benefits for same-sex couples. The Texas Supreme Court recently decided in Pidgeon v. Turner, a City of Houston case, saying that the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing marriage equality does not extend to benefits like health insurance.
Community property states, including Texas (the largest and most populous state that banned same-sex marriage before the Supreme Court ruling), will view property ownership differently than non-community property states. Same-sex spouses, especially those moving to Texas from a state with different laws, will face obstacles in the event of separation or divorce, concerning property division and spousal support.
Child custody after divorce and the rights of non-biological parents will present a particular challenge regarding same-sex marriage in Texas. Adoption by same-sex couples has long been the law in Texas, however the issue of children born during a marriage where there has been no formal adoption by a non-biological parent, while well settled in the case of heterosexual couples, are subject to future interpretations by the courts. How the courts apply the existing laws to issues of child custody and child support remains to be seen.
Contact Chris Spofford to learn about your options — and your rights — under Texas Family Law in the area of same-sex marriage. With more than 30 years of experience in Texas courts, Chris can guide you with insight and knowledge and defend your rights aggressively.