Divorce is a stressful event for anyone, but it can be particularly difficult for same-sex spouses. Although the divorce laws apply equally to everyone, some courts do not yet have significant experience with LGBTQ divorce and the issues unique to dissolving these unions.

A Pearland LGBTQ divorce lawyer at Angela Faye Brown & Associates understands and can anticipate the challenges of seeking divorce as a same-sex couple in Texas. Our experienced team of divorce attorneys could use their knowledge and skill to help you achieve a result that will enable you to move forward and thrive after the end of your marriage.

Filing for Divorce in Pearland

Same-sex marriage did not become legal in the state of Texas until the Supreme Court ruling of June 2015, in Obergefell v. Hodges. Before that ruling, local residents who wished to marry their same-sex partners traveled to other states that recognized gay marriage.

A couple can file for divorce in a local court regardless of where they married. At least one spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. In addition, one spouse must have lived in Brazoria County for at least 90 days if they file for divorce in the county.

Couples can file for no-fault divorce, citing that the marriage has broken down and the spouses cannot reconcile without attributing fault to either party. A spouse could also seek divorce on fault-based grounds, but they must prove the other spouse’s fault in a trial, which could be time-consuming, expensive, and stressful. No-fault divorces often resolve much more quickly and with less turmoil and expense.

Property Division

Texas is a community property state. That means all assets, property, and debts a couple acquires during their marriage are marital property. Marital property must be divided equitably or as close to equally as is reasonable and fair under the circumstances.

Property that a spouse owned when they married, inheritances, and gifts given to only one spouse are that spouse’s personal property, and the other spouse cannot claim an interest in the personal property. However, if a spouse contributed to the appreciation of the personal property during the marriage, the contributing spouse could claim a share of the appreciation.

If a couple had a valid prenuptial agreement regarding property division, a court would honor it. In other cases, spouses benefit by trying to reach an agreement on asset division rather than leaving it to a court to decide. A Pearland LGBTQ divorce attorney could guide a couple’s negotiations or refer them to mediation to create a formal agreement dividing their marital property.

Issues Regarding Children

Issues of child custody, visitation, and support can be complicated in LGBTQ divorce cases. As with all divorces, the process is easiest on the children if the spouses can agree who the children will live with and how they will maintain their relationship with the non-custodial spouse. Texas Family Code §153.001 establishes the presumption that children benefit from meaningful contact with both parents after divorce.

Two Legal Parents

If both same-sex parents have legal parental rights due to being either the child’s biological or adoptive parent, child custody issues are determined just as they are with heterosexual couples. The parents must develop a parenting plan that allows both parents to have a significant ongoing relationship with the child and provides visitation with the non-custodial parent. The couple must submit their agreement to the court which will approve it if it meets the children’s best interests.

One Legal Parent

If only one spouse is a legal parent due to an adoptive or biological relationship with the child, that spouse has parental rights, but the other spouse does not. In most cases, it is in the children’s best interest to continue to have contact with both adults who acted as their parents. If the spouses can agree that the non-legal parent should continue to have access to the child, a court will typically accept that agreement.

However, if the legal parent chooses to prevent the other spouse from having continued contact with the child, they have the right to do so in many situations. In other cases, it could be possible for a proactive LGBTQ divorce lawyer in Pearland to establish that a child benefits from continued contact with a non-legal parent.

Trust a Pearland LGBTQ Divorce Attorney with Your Case

If you and your spouse have decided to dissolve your marriage, you need legal counsel familiar with the issues that could arise in a same-sex divorce. Many local courts have little experience with same-sex divorces, and an attorney must be prepared to advocate tactfully but forcefully for a spouse’s desired result.

A Pearland LGBTQ divorce lawyer could provide the effective representation you need to manage the process as smoothly as possible in your unique circumstances. Schedule a discussion with a qualified legal professional at Angela Faye Brown & Associates today.