With the recent legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide, it is widely anticipated that many such Texas couples will choose to get married. Like heterosexual marriages, some of the same-sex marriages are bound to end in divorce. In fact, the Williams Institute has found that legally recognized same-sex domestic partnerships are dissolved at rates similar to those for heterosexual divorce.
The question remains about what same-sex divorces will look like. While property division is expected to largely be the same as that for heterosexual couples, how the courts will handle such things as child custody and visitation may be more nuanced.
Since same-sex couples have children in different ways and the children will only have one of the spouses as their biological parent, there may be some different ways that courts approach child custody issues in same-sex divorces. Additionally, while states have to give the same rights to same-sex married couples as they do to heterosexual married couples, the federal system still needs to catch up and address such things as medical benefits, among other matters.
Experts believe that everything will eventually catch up for those who are in a same-sex marriage and later divorce, but it may take some time. As of now, a person in a same-sex marriage who is contemplating a divorce may want to seek advice from a family law attorney. Legal counsel may be able to help by drafting and filing the necessary documents with the court and, if feasible, attempt to negotiate an agreement with the other spouse that would deal with property division and, if applicable, spousal support and child custody.