Dallas Domestic Partnership Lawyer

Texas law does not recognize same-sex marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships. In fact, all such quasi-marriage relationships were expressly banned under the Marriage Amendment of 2005.

Yet the reality is that gay and lesbian couples live together, acquire property, create families and sometimes split up. The same is true for opposite-sex couples who cohabitate without getting married. Those citizens and their children need legal protection and legal recourse just like their married counterparts.

Thus, while domestic partnerships are not legally sanctioned, domestic partnership agreements and cohabitation agreements are typically honored by the Texas courts.

Dallas Area Cohabitation Agreement Lawyers
Property Agreements And Same-Sex "Divorce"

The family law attorneys of Palmer & Manuel, L.L.P. can assist in the creation of these important documents. We also help LGBT clients and cohabitating couples sever ties and enforce agreements in the event of a breakup. Our law firm serves Dallas County, Collin County and North Texas.

A domestic partnership agreement is a formal agreement between same-sex or opposite-sex individuals in a long-term relationship. It parallels many rights, benefits and obligations of marriage that are otherwise denied, such as beneficiary status or authority to make decisions on a partner's behalf, and gives the court direction in resolving disputes.

A cohabitation agreement is a similar agreement between two individuals who cannot marry or choose not to marry. Similar to a prenuptial agreement, cohabitation agreements are typically restricted to the division of property if the parties go their separate ways. Some couples specify in their document that their relationship does not constitute a common law marriage.

Board Certified Attorneys For Complex Issues

Three of our attorneys are board certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Our legal team is thoroughly versed in the statutes and legal precedents relating to LBGT couples and cohabitating partners. We can help clients address specific issues in the event of a partner's death or incapacity, or in the event that the couple splits up, including:

  • Property settlement (assets and debts)
  • Power of attorney
  • Health care power of attorney
  • Access to the partner's medical records
  • Inheritance rights of the partner
  • Designation of guardians for children
  • Shared parenting arrangements (subject to court approval)

Some issues, such as custody, visitation and child support, cannot be dictated or waived in a domestic partnership agreement. The family courts have jurisdiction over all matters relating to children, regardless of the parents' marital status.

Learn More About Texas Domestic Partnership Law

The recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage are, for now, mostly symbolic for same-sex couples living under the realities of Texas law. But this area of law is evolving and our attorneys are attuned to the special considerations of LBGT clients in creating or dissolving partnerships. We are committed to protecting your rights and your children's best interests, in or out of court.

Call Palmer & Manuel at 214-242-6444 or contact us online to arrange a consultation with our Dallas domestic partnership attorneys. We offer convenient office hours, flexible appointment times and reasonable fees. Visa, MasterCard and Discover are accepted.