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As the situation with COVID-19 continues to develop and evolve, the safety, health and well-being of our clients and our team is extremely important to us. We are watching for the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and international medical experts to learn how we can best manage our facility and our clients.

We would like to reassure you that The Law Office of Lisa A. Vance, P.C. will continue to be available to provide services to all of our clients.

Our lawyers and paralegals are working in the office and electronically, although most of us are working from home. Below is a list of FAQs regarding our response and commitment to you during COVID-19.

Can I even have a consultation with my lawyer remotely?

Yes, The Office of Lisa A. Vance, P.C. has a comprehensive remote working capability and all of our lawyers and paralegals are equipped to work securely from home.

Will my lawyer be available to answer questions and work on my case?

Yes, your legal matters will continue to receive our attention. You can email, call, or videoconference with your lawyer during this time.

We also have multiple videoconferencing options; please contact your attorney for the platform that works best for you

How are court hearings and appointments affected?

Court in Bexar County are now conducted by Zoom Please see our blog article Court via Zoom: It’s Actually, Really Court (and Here’s How It Works)

Can I consult with a lawyer about a new family law or divorce matter?

Yes, we have office staff working in house and remotely to ensure continuity in our business. For information about a family law or divorce matter, please call our office or complete the Request a Consultation Form.

Your family law matters remain our top concern and we are not going to permit this pandemic to take priority over your needs. We will remain confident, alert and prepared.

We wish you and your family well as we work through this difficult situation together.

With warm regards,
Lisa A Vance

 

 

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Can same-sex couples who have an informal marriage get divorced?

| Jun 5, 2020 | Informal Marriage, LGBTQ Family Law |

I recently worked on a same-sex divorce for a marriage that was actually an informal marriage. Informal marriage, of course, is the legal term in Texas used for what’s perhaps better known as a common-law marriage. For legal purposes, if it meets the standards of an informal marriage, it functions the same as any other marriage for divorce purposes.

But because of how an informal marriage comes to be, one of the biggest questions to come up in these cases is whether or not the marriage met the legal standard for a marriage. And, indeed, an informal marriage is a marriage.

Though it’s legal for same-sex couples to get married in the U.S. now thanks to the Obergefell vs. Hodges Supreme Court case in 2015, that certainly hasn’t always been the case. Some same-sex couples in Texas have been living as married couples even though they haven’t been able to legally get married, which brings in the question: Can they be considered married through Texas’s informal marriage laws.

That’s important in divorce for the obvious reason that you have to be married before you can divorced. With Texas being a community property state, that’s especially important in determining how to divide assets in a divorce decree.

Section 2.4 of the Texas Family Code deals with informal marriage, and though the code still specifies “a man and a woman,” that’s not exclusively the case thanks to the Obergefell decision.

The exact language for an informal marriage provides that “a declaration of their marriage has been signed as provided by this subchapter” (which sounds a lot like a marriage license, but isn’t necessarily), or, probably more likely, that the two spouses “agreed to be married and after the agreement they lived together in this state as husband and wife and there represented to others that they were married.”

In the first case, that can be a couple that doesn’t want to have a ceremony, but is looking to show proof of being a couple for some specific purpose, like insurance coverage from an employer. In the second case, it’s a matter of agreeing to be married, living in Texas as spouses, and representing to others that they are spouses to each other.

The second and third prongs are usually the easiest ones to prove. The agreeing to be married is really within the hearts and heads of the couple, and one party could conceivably say that he or she didn’t agree to be married when asked about it in a divorce case. Yet, if there’s some document that was signed for insurance purposes, to use our earlier example, that would help to satisfy the first requirement.

In the first case above, it’s important to note that the document’s not just something created by the couple. There’s a specific Registration of Informal Marriage form provided by the Bureau of Vital Statistics, which is a state agency, filed with the County Clerk in a particular Texas county.

Now, with Obergefell coming up on its fifth anniversary next month, you’re having more and more informal marriages starting at a time in which couples could legally get married, and the representation of a same-sex couple as married is more plausible than before.

If you’re in a same-sex informal marriage, and you’re looking to get divorced, don’t fear — it can absolutely get done. Contact the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance to learn more about how to start upon settling a divorce decree for your informal marriage.

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