Last Updated on January 20, 2023 by Turner Thornton
Same-sex divorce in Texas is a complex process that can be emotionally and financially difficult for couples who have decided to end their marriage. While Texas has recognized same-sex marriage since 2015, it has a long history of banning and restricting these unions, which can create additional challenges for same-sex couples seeking to divorce. In this article, we will provide an overview of the laws and processes related to same sex divorce in Texas, as well as some tips for navigating this process.
History of same sex marriage and divorce in Texas
Same-sex marriage has been a controversial issue in Texas for decades. It was not until the United States Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex marriage became legal throughout the United States, including in Texas.
Prior to this ruling, same-sex couples in Texas were not allowed to marry or divorce, and many were forced to travel to other states in order to legally end their relationships. This created a complex and often confusing situation for couples who were seeking to divorce, as they were often not sure how to proceed or where to turn for help.
Current laws related to same-sex divorce in Texas
Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex couples in Texas have been able to marry and divorce just like opposite-sex couples. This means that they are subject to the same laws and processes as opposite-sex couples when it comes to divorce, including issues related to property division, child custody, and spousal support.
Here are some provisions that same-sex couples should be aware of when it comes to divorce in Texas.
Residency requirements for Divorce in Texas
In order to file for divorce in Texas, one spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months, and in the county where the divorce is being filed for at least 90 days. This can be a particular challenge for same-sex couples who have moved to Texas from other states, as they may not have lived in the state long enough to meet these requirements.
Property Division in Same Sex Divorce in Texas
Texas is a community property state, which means that all property and debts acquired during the marriage are considered to be owned equally by both spouses. This includes both assets and debts, and they must be divided equitably (though not necessarily equally) during the divorce process. For same-sex couples, this can be particularly complicated if one spouse owned property or had debts prior to the marriage, as these assets may not be subject to community property laws.
Recognition of same-sex marriages from other states: Texas will recognize same-sex marriages that were legally performed in other states, even if those marriages would not have been recognized in Texas at the time they were performed. This means that same-sex couples who were married in other states but now live in Texas can divorce in the state, even if they were not able to marry there.
Process for Obtaining a Same Sex Divorce in Texas
The process for obtaining a same-sex divorce in Texas is similar to the process for obtaining a divorce for opposite-sex couples. One spouse must file a petition for divorce with the court, and the other spouse must be served with a copy of the petition.
Once the petition has been filed, the couple must go through a series of steps to resolve any outstanding issues related to property division, child custody, and spousal support. This may involve negotiating a settlement agreement with the help of their attorneys or mediators, or it may require the court to make decisions on these issues.
Click here for our expanded explanation of what to expect in a divorce in Texas.
If the couple is unable to reach a settlement agreement, the case will go to trial, where a judge will make decisions on these issues. This can be a time-consuming and expensive process, and it is generally best for couples to try to reach an agreement outside of court if possible.
Once all of the issues have been resolved, the court will grant a divorce decree, which legally ends the marriage.
Tips for navigating the same-sex divorce process in Texas
If you are considering a same-sex divorce in Texas, here are a few tips to help you navigate the process:
Seek legal advice: It is important to seek the advice of an experienced divorce attorney who understands the laws and processes related to same-sex divorce in Texas. A good attorney can provide you with guidance and representation throughout the divorce process and help protect your rights and interests.
Consider mediation: Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that can help couples resolve their differences and reach an agreement outside of court. It can be a less expensive and less stressful way to resolve issues related to property division, child custody, and spousal support.
Be prepared for challenges: Same-sex divorce in Texas can present unique challenges, especially for couples who were married in other states or who have complex financial situations. It is important to be prepared for these challenges and to work with your attorney and any other professionals to find solutions.
Take care of yourself: Divorce can be an emotionally and mentally draining process, and it is important to take care of yourself during this time. Seek support from friends, family, and professionals if needed, and make sure to take breaks and practice self-care.
Divorce is never easy, but we are here to help if you want to be sure your rights are protected as you go through this process. Our experienced divorce attorneys are prepared for the challenges ahead. Give us a call at (817) 900-3220.