Same Sex Family Law

In 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges made the right of same sex couples to marry the law of the land. There was rightful optimism that same sex couples would finally have equal standing in the eyes of the law. Largely, this optimisam has been realized in the years that followed. Even in the most conservative courts, 'same sex marriage' is now usually just 'marriage' and 'same sex divorce' has just become 'divorce'. Even same sex adoptions have become less of a noteworthy event. However, there are still nooks and crannies of family law in Texas that are not totally neutral.


Having Children

Adding a child to your family is, without a doubt, one of the bigest legal hurdles facing a same sex couple. The fact that same sex couples must use some form of assisted reproduction and/or adoption ensures that they will always face some legal process when having a child--just as heterosexual couples face when they use these same methods.

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The law still gives many presumptive rights to the biological parents of a child and these rights cannot be given away 'informally'. Similary, non-biological parents cannot assume rights informally. During the course of any relationship, when things are going well, there may be a tendency to ignore the necessity of a court formally establishing a legal parent-child relationship between both parents who are raising the child.

However, when a marrage is ending, or when a biological parent suddenly decides to assert their rights, chaos often ensues and the law does not protect the 'emotional parents' as well as many believe it should. Sound legal advice and correct legal filings at the beginning always pay off in these cases, ensuring that parents who have been vested in raising their children retain rights to continue raising their children after a divorce or other change in circumstances.

Inheritance

Existing predjucies aginst same sex unions by extended family members can lead them to believe they can use the courts to take away the inheritance of a legitmate, same sex spouse. Losing your spouse is traumatic enough for anyone, but facing illegitmate legal challenges to your spouse's estate can be overwhelming. In Texas, you have the same inheritance rights any married couple enjoys. If you find yourself in a situation where your legal rights to your spouse's estate are being questioned, our probate lawyers can assist you in ensuring your inheritance rights are protected.

Eddington Worley, PC

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