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Same-sex partners and nonmarital agreements

Same-sex family legal issues are no different than those faced by heterosexual couples. From child support and adoption to financial planning, same-sex partners regularly seek the assistance of Texas Same-Sex Family Attorneys to assist them with all sorts of family law matters. While it may come as a surprise, despite the fact that same-sex marriage is not legal in Texas, there are many ways for same-sex partners to protect their legal interests.

While the current state of same-sex marriage in the state of Texas may drive some Texas couples to leave, the fact is, to most same-sex partners living here, Texas is home. While some progress has been made, with cities such as Austin and Pflugerville extending benefits to the same-sex partners of government employees, same-sex couples living in Texas are still required to be a bit more proactive than most couples when it comes to legal planning.

Despite the small, yet positive, steps forward, some same-sex couples will still choose to move to friendlier regions. For those who stay, however, they may be interested to learn that marriage is essentially a contract between two people, a contract that defines the various rights and responsibilities of the parties. Similarly, same-sex couples can create contracts to define such rights. These contracts are referred to as nonmarital agreements.

A nonmarital agreement, also known as a "living together" contract, functions similar to a prenuptial agreement. While nonmarital agreements typically concern financial matters, such as the distribution of assets and financial support, an attorney can also assist same-sex couples in the preparation of health care directives, wills and powers of attorney. Together these documents provide many of the protections that married couples may already automatically receive under state law.

Source: MSNBC, "Gay couples in red-state America consider bluer pastures," Drew Katchen, April 24, 2013

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