Author: Eric Willie
Date: July 13, 2010

Although Texas law does not recognize same sex marriages, an Austin Divorce Attorney may assist same sex couples in documenting their relationship under contract law principals. This is best accomplished through the use of a domestic partnership agreement. A domestic partnership agreement is a legally enforceable contract which sets forth the rights and obligations of the parties during the relationship and in the event the relationship ends.

A well written Austin domestic partnership agreement typically sets forth the legal rights and responsibilities of each partner. Additionally, the agreement should specify:

  • Whether property acquired during the relationship will be owned jointly or solely by one partner;
  • How jointly held property will be divided in the event the relationship ends;
  • Whether a gift or inheritance made to one partner will be considered joint property or that partners sole property;
  • How income will be shared;
  • How household chores and duties will be divided; and
  • How disputes or disagreements over the interpretation of the agreement will be handled.

In addition to executing a domestic partnership agreement once the decision to form a long-term committed relationship is made, a same sex couple may also hire an Austin family law attorney to handle a variety of other matters including:

  • Breach of property agreements;
  • Negotiated or mediated property settlements;
  • Adoptions;
  • Negotiated child support, custody, visitation agreements; and
  • Domestic partnership break-ups.

The best family law attorneys in Austin routinely advise their same sex clients in a range of other legal matters which may impact their lives together. One of the most important of these matters is estate planning. Same sex partners should each have a will, a living will, a power of attorney, and a durable power of attorney. Executing these documents ensures that in the event one partner becomes ill or dies, the other partner’s interests and decision making authority will be protected.

Because Texas does not recognize same sex marriages, it also important for Austin same sex couples who were married in another state to consider having a domestic partnership agreement drawn up. If you have questions about domestic partnerships or domestic partnership agreements, contact the Law Office of Willie and Dasher to schedule a consultation