As with so many things in the law, the June 26 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court legally recognizing same-sex marriage is not the end of the story. In many ways it is only one waypoint in a long and complicated legal course.
While many people think of alimony as any money given from one spouse to the other after a divorce is finalized, there are actually two separate types of spousal support in Texas. The first is called spousal maintenance and may only be collected for up to 10 years. Maintenance payments are made to ensure that a spouse that may not be able to support him or herself immediately following a divorce is able to maintain a minimum lifestyle.
Collaborative divorce has been greatly discussed in recent months. Its new-found popularity is likely in part because these sorts of cases tend to be less contentious than divorce matters litigated in court. However, the process will prove unsuccessful if all parties are not committed to making it work.
A judge in Texas federal court has ruled that our state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia wrote in his opinion that 14th Amendment clauses concerning equal protection and due process were violated by the same-sex marriage ban.
It is no surprise to most same-sex couples in Dallas that they cannot legally be married in Texas. Even if they leave the state and are married, the moment they step back on Texas soil they are considered single. Yet that has not stopped individuals from forming same-sex relationships and raising children together. Because these family structures are not recognized under the law, however, these couples need to rely on a host of other family law tools to protect themselves.
One important role that family law attorneys provide to clients concerns representation of parents in child support matters. The child support guidelines in Texas can be quite complex and child support matters can also be unfortunately contentious.