The results are in: OutSmart Magazine Votes Renken Law Firm One of the Best in Houston when it comes to Family Attorneys in the recently concluded 2022 Gayest & Greatest Readers’ Choice Awards!
Who Is OutSmart?
Established in 1994, OutSmart is an award-winning monthly publication that has delivered local and national news to Houston’s LGBTQ audience for over 25 years. Published in print and online, we reach 200,000+ readers each month and have a loyal fan base spanning from Houston to Los Angeles. The magazine even has an international following in Canada, Mexico, The United Kingdom, Australia, and various other locations across the globe.
OutSmart has proudly received recognition on both local and national levels. The magazine was voted “Nation’s Best Local Magazine” by the Vice Versa Gay Press Awards and has been named “Best Local Publication in Houston” by the Houston Press for four consecutive years (2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009).
Attorney Dawn Renken has been an ally to the LQTBQ+ community throughout her entire career. She knows how to navigate same-sex divorce and family legal matters. Listed below is some insight into the division of assets in same sex divorce cases:
The Duration of the Relationship Judgment
In many same-sex divorce cases, the judge will need to consider all factors available and determine his or her own judgment on how long the marriage truly is when the two spouses are together in all ways that make a marriage before the federal change in 2015. With the legal way open for same-sex couples to receive a marriage license throughout the country, there are additional problems that arise when the two spouses want to get a divorce. The duration of the marriage will affect what assets and debts are part of the relationship and at what point they are no longer separate items.
The Assets and Debts
When the judge is able to consider all the information and make a determination on how long the marriage truly is in the eyes of the law, he or she can include or exclude certain assets or debts as an individual or outside community or marital property. This may have a negative or positive effect on one or both spouses. By needing surgery, the two parties may need to split the debt. However, when an asset exists in an investment, both spouses could benefit from the increase in funding to the household. These issues generally carry over to the divorce case.
Disclosure of Assets in the Divorce Case
As with opposite-sex divorce cases, there is the need to disclose all assets accrued during the marriage. By knowing all items that exist in the relationship, the judge can make an appropriate decision on what should divide in which ways. This includes what debts require division and what property should go to which person. The disclosure often will run into various issues such as a lack of clarity of what items do exist until the judge determines the true duration of the marriage for these purposes. After the spouses know the timeframe, it is possible to review all assets that exist as marital property.
Even with the duration of the marriage is a significant factor that takes time, the two spouses may need to consider assets that are separate from marital property. Individual assets and property may still exist in the marriage without the need to mingle the items. These may appear through businesses, physical items such as houses or cars and investments that do not provide the marriage with any profits for the duration of the relationship. Some individual property becomes marital property over time and when the income or investment profits enter into the marriage. Sometimes, it takes a lawyer or other professional to fully separate these assets.
Proceeding through the Case
When the same-sex couple cannot continue with the legal marriage, it is important to know how best to end the situation for both parties in the most beneficial way. Often, this is not the standard court case. An alternate divorce resolution or ADR is important such as mediation. Even in alternate methods, the couple can proceed with the division of both assets and debts. Each party can disclose what exists in the marriage and what is marital property. Then, with open dialogue and peaceful processes, they both can divide what each will need and then compromise on what each spouse wants.
The division of assets usually accompanies the division of property, and the couple can decide on what items will separate or remain intact during an ADR or through a standard case where an agreement is possible before proceeding through the court case. This can provide better clarity in the division and help to seek a resolution to the conflict or what should divide in which way. The judge may change some things, but with an agreement already in place, most of the provisions may remain as specified.
Queer Friendly Family Lawyer Serving Houston, TX
Our team proudly serves the Greater Houston area, including but not limited to Brazos County, Cypress, Fort Bend County, Galveston, Houston Heights, Houston, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Memorial Houston, Montgomery County, Montrose, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, The Woodlands. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.
Renken Law Firm, PLLC
11500 Northwest Fwy #586
Houston, TX 77092
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