Texas Domestic Partnerships Attorney
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What Is a Domestic Partnership?
A domestic partnership is an agreement between two individuals who are not married but share specific benefits associated with marriage. This type of arrangement is often entered into by couples who are unable to legally marry due to same-sex marriage bans or other legal restrictions. In some cases, a domestic partnership also involves two heterosexual partners who wish to remain unmarried while still enjoying many of the benefits of marriage.
What Benefits Does a Domestic Partnership Provide?
In Texas, domestic partnerships provide the same benefits as a marriage with regard to taxes, insurance policies, medical decisions, and more. Additionally, the state offers a host of other benefits including inheritance rights, hospital visitation rights, and the ability to file joint tax returns. It’s important to note that these benefits vary from state to state; you should consult with an attorney or financial advisor to ensure you understand which benefits are applicable in your situation.
How Do I Register a Domestic Partnership in Texas?
In order to register a domestic partnership in Texas, both partners must be 18 years of age or older and not related by blood or marriage. The couple must fill out a Declaration of Domestic Partnership and submit it to the county clerk of their residence. They will then receive a Certificate of Domestic Partnership that is valid for one year. After this time has elapsed, the couple must renew their certificate in order to keep their partnership status valid.
Same-Sex Divorces in Houston
Same-sex marriage is now recognized under Texas law. The state also acknowledges registered domestic partnerships that afford you similar rights and responsibilities. Houston Divorce Counsel is experienced with Texas Domestic Partnership & Same-Sex Divorce laws and proficient with the family law statutes regarding these issues.
Texas Domestic Partner Laws
Texas domestic partnerships offer couples the opportunity to experience many of the same benefits enjoyed by married couples without actually getting married. However, before entering into this type of arrangement, it’s important to understand how it works and which benefits are applicable in your case. With the proper research and knowledge, you can determine if a domestic partnership is right for you and your partner
Same-Sex couples have the right to document their relationships giving them similar protection under the law that heterosexual couples enjoy automatically under the law. Most same-sex couples don’t realize the importance of the need for same-sex domestic partnership documents until it is too late. One of the most common scenarios is when a partner/spouse in a relationship becomes ill or injured, and can’t make medical decisions for themselves. In many instances, family members of the injured or ill partner, who may or may not know about a relationship or have not accepted the fact that their loved one is gay, step in and make life-altering decisions, many times contrary to the injured/ill partner’s wishes. For heterosexual couples, the law automatically gives the spouse the authority to make life decisions, thereby eliminating the additional time and cost associated with executing these types of agreements.
Texas Domestic Partnerships
Some situations involve creating a union-such as registering a domestic partnership or ensuring your partner is included in your will. Other situations can occur when a domestic partnership or same-sex marriage ends-such as dividing property and deciding upon custody of the children.
We can assist with the following:
- Creating registered domestic partnerships
- Divorce for same-sex couples that were legally married in Texas
- Dissolution of domestic partnerships
- Division of marital/partnership property and debt
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Modification of child custody, visitation, and child support orders
The firm hopes that it can be a place where same-sex couples feel comfortable to talk about issues in their relationships, and where together a working living partnership agreement can be reached. Each situation is different, and both partners/spouses of the relationship need to be prepared to talk about issues from a living will preparation, all the way to the last will & testaments and parenting agreements if children are involved.
Not every couple wants to have a “partnership agreement” drafted. In a lot of cases, couples have just the documents allowing decision making in times of medical/emergency need drafted and executed. For couples who have been together many years, or plan on staying together for life, it makes sense for a full partnership agreement be executed to protect the rights of both partners when the need arises.
Here is a sample of some of the documents the firm drafts and executes in these situations:
- Living Will / Health Care Power of Attorney
- General/Springing Power of Attorney
- Domestic Partnership Agreements
- The nomination of Guardianship for Adults (and children, if applicable)
- Authorization of release of Medical Records, etc under HIPAA
- Shared Parenting agreement
- Last Will and Testament
Whether you are currently married, are interested in creating a registered domestic partnership or have decided to end your relationship, we can help you through every step of this potentially challenging process.
For more information on Domestic Partnership and Same-sex marriage issues, contact us for a no-charge consultation to discuss your concerns. When you retain us, you have a team of experienced attorneys, forensic accountants, investigators, and highly skilled support staff resolving your case.