Same-sex Marriage and Divorce in Texas

Divorce is always an emotional issue, but when the very validity of the marriage itself is in question, then it becomes doubly problematic. This is what is happening to the first same-sex couple suing for divorce under Texas law, which is in the throes of a fierce debate regarding same-sex marriages. Under current Texas law, same-sex couples are not allowed to petition for divorce because it would acknowledge the legality of their union, which is not recognized as a “marriage” in Texas. The Woodlands divorce lawyers, for example, know that the only option open to Texas residents under current laws is to have the union voided.

The implications of this are far-reaching. Texas divorce courts are willing to void what they consider a marriage that was invalid under state law in the first place, but this means that the spouses will not have the rights accorded to heterosexual couples who can file for divorce. This includes division of property acquired by a married couple in the course of the marriage, which is divided in a “just and right” manner as determined by the court in the absence of an approved property division agreement. In the case of same-sex couples, however, such laws do not apply. Instead, it is as if the marriage had never been.

This is precisely what critics of legalizing same-sex marriages in Texas are pushing for. Even when same-sex partners get legally married in a state that does allow same-sex marriage, such as New Hampshire, they have no legal protections when they are in Texas.

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Reasons for Probate Litigation

Not all heirs to property go through probate litigation, but they all go through probate. Probate is simply the legal process through which a decedent’s property is administered and typically takes 90 days. Probate litigation, on the other hand, can take years, and becomes necessary when there is no other way to resolve disputes, issues and claims against an estate.

Most people think that only the rich is subject to probate litigation, but it is an option for any case where there is property or assets that run into problems after the owner dies. In most cases where there is a will, probate litigation is filed to contest the terms and conditions of the will. In cases where the owner dies intestate, probate litigation becomes a matter of course in which the court decides who will benefit and to what degree based on affinity and other legal relationships.

In cases where a will is contested, it could be based on several issues. These issues include:

  • Trust administration and termination
  • Fiduciary duty violations of estate administrators, executors and trustees
  • Mental condition of the testator at the time the will was signed
  • Second marriages
  • Claims of undue influence or use of force
  • Claims of forgery
  • Disputes about the legal validity of testamentary documents

Because probate litigation can drag on for years and leave all heirs in suspended animation until the issues at hand are resolved, it is often suggested that mediation with the help of a qualified probate lawyer would be the better option. Since states all have different takes on probate, it is advisable to get legal advice from a lawyer who practices in that state, even that city. For example, if the decedent lived in Houston, heirs should make sure that mediation or probate litigation goes as smoothly as possible in a legal sense by consulting with Houston lawyers, like those of the Mokaram Law Firm. Visit the Mokaram page.

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