While Texas does not legally recognize a marriage between two partners of the same sex, individuals who are married and who have moved into the state may face a variety of complicated legal issues if they decide to get divorced. This situation is even more complex for same-sex couples who have children. A few tips can help these individuals navigate their way through the legal waters.
One of the first things that a same-sex partner may need to do is to review any agreements that he or she signed prior to the marriage. These documents might indicate a person’s intentions regarding the care and support of children.
Another important consideration is understanding the child support calculation. Some financial data may be necessary, including documentation that shows a parent’s gross monthly income. Information regarding a child’s expenses and health insurance premiums can also be helpful. If a child has special expenses, such as extracurricular activities, childcare or special needs, this information should also be documented. While the state has certain guidelines in place regarding the amount of child support, it can take other factors into consideration; in some cases, individuals can reach an amicable decision regarding the amount of support.
An additional consideration is maintaining consistency with the children of the marriage. A partner may instruct the other partner to stay away from the child or insist that he or she has no rights because of a lack of biological connection. However, this is not always the case. The court may look at whether the partner has maintained a relationship with the child after the relationship with the parent was severed in order to determine what is in the best interest of the child.
Same-sex partners who have questions about their legal rights may decide to discuss their concerns with a family law attorney. A lawyer may be able to provide details about the legal rights of parents who are in a same-sex relationship in a certain state.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Facing Divorce? Top 5 Things Same-Sex Couples With Children Need to Know”, Nicole Sodoma, February 24, 2014