LGBTQ+ Family Law

Vanessa Simone represents LGBTQ+ clients in a variety of family law cases and is committed to advocating for same sex family law equality. As members of the LGBTQ+ community, we understand you need someone in your corner who understands the unique needs that can arise.

Deitchle+Simone will only advocate to expand the rights of non-biological parents. We will not advocate for diminishing the rights of same-sex partners or non-biological parents who have parented a child in a same sex relationships.

“Gay” Divorce in Texas

Same-sex marital rights fundamentally changed in 2015 when the US Supreme Court, in Obergefell, recognized the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry. The Obergefell line of cases ensure that same-sex married couples in Texas have the same rights as opposite-sex married couples. With that right, comes the right to divorce. Deitchle + Simone understands that there can different issues that same-sex couples face when ending a relationship compared to different sex couples. These can include:

  • The retroactive effect of the marriage equality decision on the existence of a marriage, whether formal or informal;
  • The characterization of property as community, separate, or both, and its effect on the division of assets in a divorce; and
  • Parental rights for bio/non-bio and adoptive parents.

Second Parent Adoption / LGBTQ+ Adoption

Unfortunately, Texas law is still somewhat unsettled as to parentage for non-biological parents in Texas. It is extremely important that same-sex parental rights are protected. The presumptions of parentage of a child born during a same-sex marriage, is generally applied the same was as if the child was born of an opposite sex marriage. In some counties in Texas, just having both parents' names on the birth certificate or a child having the non-biological parent’s surname may not be enough to give the non-biological parent rights to the child should the relationship end.

Despite the legal presumptions of parentage, if you are not the biological parent of a child born of a same-sex relationship or marriage, you may want to legally adopt the child to avoid any later challenges to your parental rights. This is especially important for same-sex couples in counties where judges may be skeptical of same-sex parentage (or same sex-marriage), when there is not adoption order in place.

Name Change

Name changes are not just for married women who get divorced and want to revert back to their maiden name. There are many other people who choose to change their name for a multitude of reasons.

Some examples of who we can help are:

  • Trans clients who want to legally change their first and/or last names — this is often combined with a Correction of Gender order
  • Gay / LGBTQ+ couples who are getting married and one or both partners want to have the same last name
  • Same-sex couples starting a family where one or both partners want to change their last name so they can have the same last name as their child
  • Non binary folk who go by a different name than the one on their birth certificate
  • Anyone else who wants to change their name, just because they want to

Correction of Gender Identity in Texas

Legally correcting your gender identity is possible in Texas. It can either be done on its own or combined with a name change. If you have changed your name in another state, you can also correct your gender identity on its own in Texas. It is important that you speak with us regarding what county you should file in. Not all counties are “LGBT friendly” counties in Texas and it is typically recommended that you file in Travis County, regardless of where you reside in Texas.