Same Sex Marriage

What does the Supreme Court ruling mean for LGBT rights?

The landmark Supreme Court ruling Obergefell v. Hodges established that The Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry. This decision also opens other previously closed opportunities for same-sex couples. Couples married in another state prior to Obergefell, but who have lived in Texas could not legally divorce until the Supreme Court’s ruling. Now, married same-sex couples who want a divorce have the same marital property rights as heterosexual couples.

Common-Law (Informal Marriage)

For heterosexual couples, Common Law Marriage (or Informal Marriage as it’s defined in Texas) has been an issue for years. Now, same-sex couples might possibly have claims and property disputes arising from “Common Law Marriage.” Contrary to public opinion, living together for a set amount of time does not make you common law married in Texas. In fact, the elements of Informal Marriage are: Tex. Fam. Code ยง 2.401.

  • Parties agreed to be married
  • Parties held themselves out to the public as married
  • Parties lived together as husband and wife.

In many common law marriage cases with heterosexual couples, proving the parties intended or agreed to be married can be a problem. However, this might be a lot easier to show for same-sex couples who participated in a ceremony or union (regardless if in Texas or not) during a time when same-sex marriage was not recognized by Texas.

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