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San Antonio LGBTQ Family Attorney

Bexar County LGBTQ divorce and child custody lawyer

Representing Families Of All Kinds

The family law system in the United States is often focused on "traditional" or "nuclear" families, which involve a married husband and wife who may share one or more children. However, modern families come in all shapes and sizes. When spouses, unmarried partners, children, or other family members are part of the LGBTQ+ community, they may encounter some unique legal issues, and they may be unsure about the best ways to protect their rights, resolve the disputes they encounter, and ensure that they will be able to maintain important family relationships. When managing LGBT family law issues, it is important for families to work with an attorney who can provide the creativity, dedication, and experience necessary to address their specific circumstances.

At Brandon Wong & Associates, our attorneys believe your family deserves the best, no matter what it looks like, and we dedicate our resources to helping the LGBT community in San Antonio in matters involving family law. We are dedicated to helping parents maintain relationships with their children and protecting the rights of those who are involved in legal matters. We would be proud to be the firm that represents you and your loved ones, and we pledge to provide you with the quality legal help you deserve, no matter your situation.

Addressing LGBTQ Family Law Issues

Even though same-sex couples and others in the LGBTQ community have been forming strong family relationships for decades, they have only recently received recognition in the legal system. Same-sex marriage was legalized by the United States Supreme Court in 2015, and since then, LGBT couples have been able to enjoy the same rights and privileges as opposite-sex spouses.

However, same-sex couples may encounter some unique issues as they get married, add children to their family, or end their marriages through divorce. If a couple had been together for multiple years before they were legally allowed to be married, there may be some uncertainty about the actual length of their marriage or whether certain assets they own are considered to be community property. Because community property includes assets or debts that were acquired after a couple was legally married, and this property must be divided between spouses in the event of divorce, spouses will want to be sure that all applicable assets are included in these considerations. Since Texas law recognizes common law marriage, a couple may have been considered to be legally married if there is evidence that they agreed to be married, they represented themselves to others as married, and they lived together in the state of Texas in a relationship that was equivalent to a marriage.

LGBT parents may also encounter issues related to child custody if they decide to divorce or separate. If both partners are the legal parents of a child, they will be able to enforce their parental rights, share in legal conservatorship, and have reasonable visitation time. Child support orders may also be established to ensure that both parents will contribute toward meeting their children's needs. However, there are some situations where a person may be the biological parent of a child, but their partner may not be the child's legal parent. In these cases, our lawyers can help parents determine how to proceed, and we will work to resolve disputes, preserve parent/child relationships, and help parents take the correct steps to protect their children's best interests.

Same-Sex Divorce FAQs


Is Same-Sex Divorce Legal in Texas?

Answer: Yes, same-sex divorce is legal in Texas. Following the landmark Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, same-sex couples have the same rights and protections as opposite-sex couples when it comes to divorce. Texas recognizes and allows for the dissolution of same-sex marriages, providing equal access to the legal process for all couples, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.


What Is the Difference Between Marriage and Civil Unions for Same-Sex Couples?

Answer: In Texas, there are significant differences between marriage and civil unions for same-sex couples. Marriage grants couples legal recognition and access to the full range of rights and benefits the state provides, including inheritance rights, healthcare decision-making, and tax benefits. On the other hand, civil unions and domestic partnerships are not recognized at the state level in Texas. However, in some counties and cities in Texas, civil unions, or domestic partnerships as they are referred to, are recognized. Therefore, marriage remains the best option for same-sex couples seeking full legal recognition and rights in the state.


Is the Divorce Process Different for Same-Sex Spouses?

Answer: The divorce process for same-sex spouses is generally the same as it is for opposite-sex couples in Texas. Both parties must meet the legal requirements, such as residency and grounds for divorce. They are also subject to the same procedures, including the division of assets and debts and determining child custody and child support. The court treats same-sex divorces equally, ensuring that both parties have equal access to the legal process and protections.


Can Same-Sex Spouses Get a Legal Separation?

Answer: Legal separation is not recognized in Texas, regardless of whether you are in a same-sex relationship or an opposite-sex relationship.


I Am Not a Biological Parent of My Child, and My Same-Sex Spouse and I Are Separating. Can I Secure Custody or Visitation Rights?

Answer: In Texas, as a non-biological parent in a same-sex marriage, you may be able to secure custody or visitation rights. The courts recognize that the child's best interests are paramount, and they aim to protect the rights of all parents, regardless of their biological connection with their children. To establish custody or visitation rights, you must demonstrate that you have acted as a parent to the child and developed a meaningful and ongoing relationship with them. Consulting with an experienced family lawyer can help you understand your rights and navigate the legal process to secure custody or visitation rights.


My Same-Sex Spouse and I Did Not Enter a Civil Union or Get Married, and We Are Separating. Can I Protect My Assets?

Answer: In cases where you are not officially married but are separating, you may be able to take steps to protect your assets. This is because Texas law recognizes common law marriage even for same-sex couples. Common law marriage is an informal marriage that must meet certain criteria set forth by the state. If you are in a same-sex common-law marriage, you may be able to take steps to protect your assets as if you were going through a traditional divorce.


Can We, as Same-Sex Spouses, Convert Our Civil Union to a Marriage?

Answer: No, because civil unions are not recognized in Texas. However, they may be recognized in certain cities or towns in Texas. To make sure your rights are protected, you may want to legally marry your partner. Consult with a lawyer to gain a better understanding of your situation.


Can We, as a Same-Sex Couple, Adopt Children in Texas?

Answer: Yes. In all 50 states, same-sex adoption is protected, including in Texas.


Can a Judge Deny a Same-Sex Couple Marriage?

Answer: No. In Texas, a judge cannot legally deny a same-sex couple marriage. However, a couple’s marriage may be determined to be invalid for other reasons, such as because either party is already married, because one partner is underage, or because a person did not have the mental capacity to consent to marriage.


Do Same-Sex Married Couples Have the Same Legal Rights and Protections as Different-Sex Married Couples?

Answer: Since the federal legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015, same-sex married couples and different-sex married couples in Texas have the same rights and protections.

Contact Our San Antonio LGBTQ Family Law Attorneys

Our firm helps LGBT families address multiple types of issues related to marriage, divorce, child custody, and related matters. We can help parents complete adoptions, including stepparent adoptions, and we can assist with name changes following a marriage or divorce. We can assist with any other concerns that families may need to resolve in family court or other situations. To set up a consultation and get the legal help you need, call us at 210-201-3832 or fill out a contact form.

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