Divorce For Dallas LGBT Couples
Since the 2015 Supreme Court decision ruling that same sex marriage was a right in all 50 states LGBT couples have enjoyed equal rights and protections under the law. However, because same sex marriage is recognized, so is same sex divorce. Legally married, same sex couples in Texas are also subject to the same laws relating to property division, child custody, spousal support and other areas of family law surrounding divorce. These situation can get complicated when couples lived together for years under common law marriage, got legally married in a different state before 2015, came back to Texas and now want a divorce. The challenge is to prove when the marriage began and when marital property was acquired.
Discuss Your Divorce With Dallas’ Most Experienced LGBT Attorney
Every family is unique, special and deserves to be treated with compassion, respect and sensitivity. In a divorce it is also important that LGBT couple also seek representation by an attorney actively involved in the gay community that will fully protect their rights and interests in court. Attorney and Justice of the Peace John P. McCall Jr. has personally handled thousands of divorces in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. The majority of those cases, stretching back from 2003, have involved same sex couples. With this extensive background in LGBT family law Mr. McCall understands the nuances and complexities that can arise when working through these cases. Imagine the peace of mind you will experience when you can sit down with an attorney who has seen your case play out dozens of times in Dallas courts. Being represented by a divorce lawyer with this level of experience will ensure the best possible outcome for you. You will save time and money by avoiding costly mistakes and benefit from counsel that knows when to settle and when to litigate.
Do I need a gay divorce lawyer for a gay divorce?
The short answer is no. While Mr. McCall is a gay attorney and Dallas’ first openly gay elected Justice of the Peace, he emphasizes the importance of working with an attorney that not only understands your legal problem but can also empathize with your perspective. So while it is universally recognized that you absolutely do not need a lawyer who is gay themselves to help you with a gay divorce, many clients choose the Law Offices of John P. McCall Jr. for that exact reason. Every divorce lawyer will do their best to fully represent their client’s interests but Mr. McCall has taken on many clients that have gone through several so-called “gay-friendly” attorneys in Dallas unable to find a highly skilled divorce lawyer that can also see the world through their eyes.
You want someone on your team who understand how sensitive public records are. Clients are worried that employers, or other prying eyes, will find their name online. When the Law Office of John P. McCall Jr. files your divorce that won’t happen. Your private life shall remain private.
Our clients get comfort knowing their divorce attorney can relate to their personal dynamics, understand the different ego’s, emotions and finances.
Whichever divorce attorney you choose, you will be sharing intimate details of your life to aid in your case. No two couples are the same but it’s good to be able to fully disclose your situation to your attorney and know your lifestyle patterns will not feel embarrassing.
You will find many gay friendly and LGBT divorce attorneys in Dallas since 2015. You should be represented by the one that has been defending the rights of the Texas LGBT community before it was cool.
The Law Office of John P. McCall Jr. can help with these Same Sex Divorce issues:
- You were married in another state and need a same-sex divorce in Texas.
- You were married in Texas and need to file for a separation, divorce or annulment in Texas.
- You’re a Texas resident and you’ve been served divorce papers.
How Do I File For Divorce In Texas?
Since “no-fault” divorces are recognized in Texas, as long as both parties agree to everything in regard to property division and child custody filing for an uncontested divorce in Texas is fairly simple. The first step is filing a petition for an uncontested divorce with the district court clerk’s office on the grounds of “insupportability” meaning that the two of you have irreconcilable differences.
Keep in mind that Texas family courts will only have the ability to hear your case (jurisdiction) if both you and your spouse have lived in the state for at least six months. Without fulfilling that residency requirement the divorce will be more complicated and will most likely require the help of an attorney. Once you have filed the appropriate number of copies of the divorce petition with the clerk you need to serve your spouse. Again, if this is an amicable, uncontested divorce the easiest way to go about this is to have your spouse sign a waiver of citation so you both can skip paying a county process server. Once that’s done there is a mandatory sixty day waiting period so that you and your spouse have time to agree on a final divorce decree. This is where you finalize your agreement on property division, child custody, visitation and, because Texas is a community property state, the equal division of your debts and assets. At this point you may want to consult with a qualified Dallas divorce attorney to make sure the divisions follow state laws.
The last step is to attend an uncontested divorce hearing. There are various courts that handle these types of cases. You’ll want to check with the county clerk about the time and place to schedule your hearing as well as what documentation to bring. At this hearing the judge will ask you both to sign your final divorce decree.
If both you and your spouse are in total agreement on all of these issues then this may be a route you can take to get a quick and efficient divorce. If you are finding that some of these categories become points of contention with your spouse it may be time to contact an divorce attorney for help navigating high asset divorces or high conflict situations involving kids, investments, a business or spousal support.
Same-Sex Marriage and Common Law Marriage
This is one of the most frequent questions regarding same sex relationships in Texas. Common Law marriage and it’s requirements are clearly defined in the Texas family code but there is a lot of misinformation and “water cooler counsel” that turns an otherwise simple matter into a legal gray area for many people. To be considered “common law married” in Texas you must:
- You have signed a declaration of marriage with your spouse.
- After the agreement has been sign, you co-habitate with your spouse as a married couple would.
- Hold yourself out to others as being married.
As long as all three of those requirements are fulfilled simultaneously then, as far as the law is concerned, that makes a common law marriage. Many people will still ask “if we did this or that (like have children or buy a house) are we common law married?” The answer is always: did you fulfill the three requirements set out by the Texas family code?
How this really affects the LGBTQ community in Texas is prior to the 2015 Obergfell decision many same sex couples chose to establish common law marriages in lieu of a formal marriage. Then after same sex marriage (and same sex divorce) was recognized they went that route but the key factor is that according to the Texas Department of State Health Services a same sex common law marriage is valid and can predate a formal, post-2015 marriage. Establishing when exactly a common law marriage was formed determines what is considered separate or community property and benefits like retirement and social security.
If you are involved in a same sex common law marriage that predates 2015 and are now seeking a divorce schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of John P. McCall Jr. to find out exactly how the divorce laws will apply to you situation.
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