Until the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules that Texas’ same sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, same sex couples living in the Lone Star state are left in legal limbo. Even couples married in another state or country are not protected under Texas law like heterosexual married couples. For same sex couples, the big question is, “How can we best protect and take care of our family in this uncertain atmosphere?” Having an unrecognized marriage can mean day to day hassles and unique legal challenges.
Many same sex couples leave Texas to wed legally, although upon returning to Texas, not much has changed. Their social security card may show a new married last name, if desired, but because Texas does not recognize same sex marriage, the name on the Texas driver’s license remains unchanged. It is a strange, tangled web of laws between the federal government and state government.
From health insurance issues to estate planning, same sex couples find themselves spending extra time and money trying to sort it all out. If children are involved, the importance of getting legal matters straightened out is even more urgent. In Texas, same sex couples must think worst-case scenario early on: “What will happen to our children if my spouse dies? Will I get to see my child if my partner and I split up?” It may take away some of the magic of starting a family, but same-sex couples in Texas cannot afford to be unconcerned with future legal matters.
Your family’s future is so important, and cannot be left to chance. Contact an attorney who specializes in estate planning for same sex couples to avoid unnecessary hardship in the future.