When you decided to marry your partner, you were completely in love, and you thought you’d be together forever. You’ve built up your lives since you tied the knot; maybe you purchased a home, had kids or supported each other in your respective careers.
Now, however, you’ve decided to go your separate ways, and you’re trying to figure out what to do next. Whether you’re dealing with irreconcilable differences or, sadly, you’re in an abusive situation, you know that you need to get a divorce. Of course, you want it to be as quick and painless as possible for you and any other family members involved, so that you can get back on track and adjust to your new reality in a healthy way.
Before you decide to look into your LGBT divorce, here are some crucial facts you need to know. Once you learn about it, then you can decide what course of action you’re going to take.
In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that banning same-sex marriages in all 50 states was unconstitutional, so it became legal for same-sex couples to get married in every single state. The Court stipulated that states had to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriage licenses as well, since some couples were previously getting married in states where it was already legalized. While Texas did not allow same-sex marriages prior to the ruling, now, they are legally mandated to do so.
There is no Texas civil code that covers LGBTQ divorce, and so far the courts have been handling it on a case-by-case basis. However, because same-sex marriage is legal in the state, that means same-sex couples are given the same rights as heterosexual couples in an LGBT divorce.
The only tricky part is when there is a common law marriage situation. You may have entered into a common law marriage if you got married somewhere out of state, came to Texas and then lived together as a couple.
In an LGBT divorce where you’re in a common law marriage, you’d have to prove that you and your partner agreed to get married, you are not formally or informally married to anyone else, you and your spouse were at least 18 years old when you got married, you demonstrated to others that you were together as a couple and you lived in Texas a married couple.
Since Texas is a community property state, where property you acquired with your spouse during your marriage belongs to both of you, you’ll additionally need to know when exactly you got married. Otherwise, it could be tough to prove what property belongs to you and what belongs to your spouse.
You and your spouse are eligible to file for divorce in Texas if you or your spouse resided in Texas for at least the last six months, and you resided in the county where you file for at least the past 90 days.
For instance, if you and your spouse both left your home and moved to new counties in Texas recently, you’d then have to wait at least 90 days since you moved to file. If one of you moved out of Texas, as long as the other one didn’t (and they meet that 90-day county rule), then you or your spouse can file for divorce.
You’ll need to decide if you’re going to file a no-fault or a fault divorce. The fee is the same – it costs $250 to $300 – but the divorce process could end up being vastly different. In a fault divorce, one spouse claims there was abandonment, abuse, cruelty, a felony conviction or infidelity, and it could effect how your property is divided.
There is a 60-day waiting period before you can finalize your divorce with the court, however, it typically will take longer than that because of outside issues like spousal support, child custody, child support and deciding on the division of property.
For instance, if you have children, you and your spouse are going to have to work out an arrangement, and the court may look at evidence to assess how each of you are as parents. If one of you is seeking alimony, you’ll have to show why you need it.
You’ll also need to be prepared to pay more than the filing fee, especially if you end up going to trial. Sometimes, divorces can cost thousands of dollars depending upon just how complicated they are.
While LGBT divorce can be simple, there are also other factors that can make it murkier, such as if you got a common law marriage or you had children. To ensure you are protected, you’ll need to find the right LGBT divorce attorney who is on your side.
They will help you file the forms, figure out exactly what you want out of your divorce, explain the process so that it makes sense to you, go to court and trial with you, if necessary, as well as provide support during this difficult time.
After all, you shouldn’t have to go at it alone. With the right LGBT divorce attorney, instead of fixating on legal details that may be hard to understand, you can focus on adjusting to your new normal following the end of your marriage.
If you’re thinking about filing for an LGBT divorce, then one of the experienced attorneys at Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, LLC is here to help. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and get started with your divorce process.
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