About Domestic Partnerships
Same-sex partnerships have many of the same legal issues as conventional partnerships do. Although same-sex marriages may not be recognized by Texas state law, domestic partnerships can nonetheless be legally documented following contract law principals by using a domestic partnership agreement. This is a legal contract that establishes the rights and responsibilities of both parties in the relationship, and can include such items as ownership of property, property division should the relationship end, income sharing, and the handling of disputes.
Anyone who is considering domestic partnership needs sound legal counsel to help in formulating such agreements, as well in legally addressing such integral relationship matters as estate planning, including wills and powers of attorney, or adoption issues, when applicable.
Some domestic partnerships include beneficiary clauses that award the surviving partner the assets of the other spouse upon their death, but these clauses can be drafted to include a clause that requires the surviving spouse to prove that the relationship was still intact at the time of the death of the partner.
Texas does not force companies or employers to offer benefits to domestic partners, but many companies have found that they are missing out on top talent when they chose to refuse benefits to domestic partnerships. Many employers and insurers will require proof of domestic partnerships, but this is not a statewide mandate
Ending a Domestic Partnership in Texas
Should a domestic partnership end, skilled legal representation would be necessary for settlement of any disputes, such as for example, child custody & visitation issues, to avoid potentially costly litigation proceedings. If you are a partner in a same-sex couple that was married in another state and are now living in Texas, or in a non-married same-sex domestic partnership, it is essential that you contact a seasoned Houston divorce attorney to get the immediate legal help you will need to keep your rights and interests protected.