Houston LGBTQ Divorce Lawyer

If you are a Houston resident who identifies with the LGBTQ+ community and are about to split from your spouse, you might feel you have additional hurdles to clear during the divorce process. This is because some of Texas’s laws surrounding LGBTQ matters are still developing and can be unclear or more complex. But you can find a good advocate at The Stout Law Firm, PLLC. Each Houston LGBTQ divorce lawyer at our firm cares deeply about your family and has extensive experience in handling divorce and custody matters. We are experienced in family law and we strive to obtain the best legal relief for every client who contacts our office. 

Same-Sex Divorce in Houston 

In general, same-sex divorce in Texas works the same way divorce works between spouses of the opposite sex. 

Beginning a Divorce

Ending a marriage begins with petitioning for divorce in the county where you or your spouse lives. To be eligible to file for divorce in Texas, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months and in the county where you file for at least 90 days. Once you have filed your divorce petition, you typically must have that petition served on your spouse.

Matters Covered in Divorce Proceedings

Like in any other divorce in Texas, the family court needs to make decisions on the following matters before your divorce can be finalized: 

  • How to divide the community property, 
  • How to divide community debts,
  • Whether either party has a right to spousal support 
  • The amount of spousal support a spouse is owed,
  • Child support, and 
  • Child custody.

These decisions might be made after you and your spouse engage in alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, or after you and your spouse attend a trial. 

Unique Complications You Might Face During a Same-Sex Divorce

A petitioner in a claim to dissolve a same-sex marriage might face some obstacles in light of a developing legal landscape concerning marriage rights, child support obligations, and custody rights. We are here to protect you.

Developing law

In Texas, the recognition of same-sex marriage is relatively new. In fact, same-sex marriage was not legal in this state until the U.S. Supreme Court decided Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. 

While the law of the land is that same-sex marriages are legal, there have been challenges to Texas’s application of the federal ruling. And in regard to marriage benefits for same-sex spouses, the Texas Supreme Court indicated in 2017 that there were still questions to answer about the extent of Obergefell’s reach. The federal government has since passed the Respect for Marriage Act to protect the rights of couples in same-sex marriages, but having a good advocate in your corner can bolster your position in court when you split from your spouse. A Houston LGBTQ divorce attorney from The Stout Law Firm can obtain the relief you need and develop and employ the strategies necessary to combat any unfair treatment you might face in the legal system. 

Child custody and support matters

If you share a child with your spouse, the divorce court needs to decide the custody rights each of you will have. When it comes to child custody, the public policy of the state is to encourage parents to share the duties and rights of raising their children. If you or your spouse became a parent through adoption or assisted reproduction, you may have to provide additional evidence to the divorce court regarding your parental rights or your spouse’s parental obligations. This evidence could include: 

  • Adoption papers,
  • Paperwork regarding the termination of a biological parent’s rights, or
  • Copies of your reproductive assistance agreement. 

If there are any gaps or inconsistencies in the evidence you have regarding your rights as a parent, an LGBTQ divorce lawyer in Houston from The Stout Law Firm can help you fill in those gaps or effectively argue your case before the court. 

Establishing your rights and your spouse’s rights as parents is also crucial when it comes to child support determinations. Typically, you or your spouse will be ordered to pay child support for one of the following time periods:

  • Until your child turns 18,
  • Until your child marries,  
  • Until your child is emancipated, or
  • For your child’s lifetime if the child has special needs.

If adoption or assisted reproduction raises questions regarding who the legal parents are in your child support case, you may have to litigate that issue before receiving child support or arguing against your obligation to pay support. We can identify when litigation of these matters is or is not necessary so that you do not waste time in court. We can also make the best arguments to protect your rights.  

How an Attorney Can Help You

When you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community who is facing divorce in Texas, you have the same rights as any other spouse or parent. However, the legal landscape in this state can sometimes make dissolving your marriage a bit more difficult than it should be, and divorce is already hard. Having an attorney to fight your battles in court is often the best way to ease the stress of a divorce, protect your rights, and identify and eliminate improper treatment. 

A good attorney can do all of the following in your divorce proceedings:

  • Prepare you for potential obstacles in the legal process,
  • Obtain all the evidence you need to prove your case,
  • Help you resolve preliminary family matters before heading to divorce court,
  • Negotiate and draft a favorable divorce settlement,
  • Keep biased or inappropriate evidence out of court, and
  • Maximize your support and custody rights. 

And if you need a good LGBTQ divorce attorney in Houston, you can talk to The Stout Law Firm. 

Contact The Stout Law Firm Today

At The Stout Law Firm, we have decades of combined experience, and the majority of our attorneys are Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We are also award-winning practitioners who are passionate about protecting the families of Houston. If you need help with a family law matter, please give us a call or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions: Same-Sex Divorce Rates in Texas 

Houston LGBTQ Divorce Lawyer

Dissolving a marriage can be a challenging journey for any couple. Still, for those in the LGBTQ+ community, unique legal, social, and emotional factors compound existing challenges heterosexual couples face. As more same-sex couples choose to marry, questions about the dynamics of these relationships and the challenges they face during potential divorces become increasingly relevant. 

When it comes to understanding same-sex divorce rates, we have very limited information to work with. Given that Texas only started recognizing same-sex marriage in 2015, we have even less information to pull from. At The Stout Law Firm, we receive numerous questions regarding same-sex marriage, divorce,  and other related issues in Texas. Below, you’ll find answers to a few of the most common questions we receive.

What Are Same-Sex Marriage Divorce Rates Like?

It’s challenging to pinpoint the divorce rate of same-sex couples. That is due to the variation in how data is collected and reported across different states and agencies. While some studies suggest that same-sex couples may have lower divorce rates compared to heterosexual couples, comprehensive, nationwide statistics specifically breaking down divorce rates among same-sex couples are not readily available.

Overall, there is limited information on nationwide divorce rates of same-sex couples, let alone Texas statistics. Research indicates that divorce rates may vary among different demographics within the LGBTQ+ community. Some studies suggest that lesbian couples might have higher divorce rates than gay couples. However, various factors could influence these findings and should be interpreted cautiously.

How Do Custody Challenges Affect Same-Sex Divorce in Texas?

One significant challenge that couples with children may face during a same-sex divorce involves custody arrangements. In most cases, one parent is not biologically related to the child. Pursuing custody can become complicated depending on the facts and circumstances. The lack of a biological connection can complicate custody disputes, potentially affecting the outcome. Courts typically consider the child’s best interest, but legal recognition of both parents’ rights is crucial for ensuring fair treatment. This dynamic can add stress to the divorce process for same-sex couples, impacting their overall experience and possibly influencing divorce rates within this demographic.