The US Supreme Court ruling of June 26th, 2015 recognized same-sex marriages across the country. This effectively also means that Texas family courts are allowed to grant same-sex divorces and deal with all related matters such as property division the same way as in case of opposite-sex divorces.
Although the basic issues in a same-sex divorce in Austin are no different from what a straight couple who is seeking a divorce, property division in Texas is a complex matter and you should seek legal advice from an experienced same-sex divorce attorney.
Rules of Community Property Apply to Same-Sex Divorce
Texas is a community property state. Therefore, any property that is acquired during the course of the marriage will be considered as belonging to both spouses.
At the time of divorce, the community property will be divided as per court order. Texas law presumes that all community property belongs to both spouses equally, irrespective of who bought it, and irrespective of which spouse has more separate property of their own.
As the laws applicable to opposite-sex marriage are now also valid for same marriages in Texas, it can be inferred that the laws of property division in a same-sex divorce in Austin would also apply in the same manner across the board.
How your assets, property, and debts would be divided upon divorce as a partner in a same-sex marriage is no different from a situation where a couple splits property in a “traditional” marriage in Texas.
Income, Assets, and Debts Division
Any income that you may have earned during the course of your same-sex marriage would be treated as belonging to the community estate and would be divided upon divorce. The law will take into account your salary or wages earned as well as any income generated through retirement assets or other investments as part of your income during a same-sex marriage.
If during the course of your same-sex marriage, you and your spouse bought a house that built-up home equity over the years, then that equity amount will also be divided at the time of your same-sex divorce in Austin. Similarly, if either spouse incurred any debts during the marriage, they would be divided before your same-sex divorce is finalized.
How to Divide Community Property in a Same-Sex Divorce?
Under Texas law, the community property belonging to divorcing couples must be divided in a “just and right” manner. This means that the division must be “equitable” and not necessarily “equal”. In a same-sex divorce in Austin, the court could consider various circumstances to determine an “equitable” division. These may include:
- Difference in the earning capacity of the spouses
- Attribution of fault for the dissolution of the marriage
- Health condition of each spouse
- Which spouse gets the child custody (which may be an adopted child in case of a same-sex couple)
- Education level and future employability of each spouse
Talk to a Knowledgeable Same-Sex Divorce Lawyer in Austin
Eric M. Willie, P.C. is a top-rated family law attorney in the Austin area. He is not only competent and compassionate to his clients, but he will also treat you like a part of the family: with the respect, honesty, and fairness that you deserve. To make an appointment with us for your same-sex property division or other divorce matters, call us at 512-478-0834 or complete our online contact form.