Six years have passed since the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed marriage equality throughout the country, yet some confusion still persists. In theory, you and your same-sex partner have the same rights as different-sex couples do to marry, divorce and remarry.
Nevertheless, because marriage was not an option for you until marriage equality became the law of the land, you may have to contend with some unusual circumstances. The ACLU of Texas attempts to clear up some of the confusion.
What if you got married in another state?
Before same-sex marriage was legal in Texas, some couples got married in other states where it was legal. If you are one of these couples, you may wonder if you need to get married again in Texas to make it legal. However, this should not be necessary. As long as your formal marriage complied with the laws of the state or country where it took place, the state of Texas should now recognize it.
Before Texas recognized same-sex marriage, it would not grant divorces to same-sex couples who married outside the state. However, if you now wish to divorce your spouse, the same state and local judicial forums are now available to you, meaning that you can access proceedings related to divorce, separation and child custody in Texas.
Are you already in a common-law marriage?
A common law marriage is an informal arrangement in which two people agree to a marriage with one another, live together as a married couple and represent themselves as such to others. If you and your partner have done these things, you have grounds to prove and register a common-law marriage with the state. However, common law marriage does not happen automatically after you have lived together for a certain number of years.
If you wish to remarry, you must first make sure that the previous marriage is at an end regardless of whether it involved a person of the same or different sex. If the divorce happened less than 31 days ago, you must obtain a waiver from a Texas judge and provide a certified divorce decree before you can marry again.