Business and Family Law

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Marriage equality for everyone, everywhere!

rainbow flag The United States Supreme Court ruled on Friday, June 26, 2015, that the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage, effectively nullifying the Texas state law and constitutional amendment seeking to define marriage as only between a man and woman. learn more

Marriage Equality FAQs

It is an amazing time in our nation’s history! The Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Obergefell v Hodges guarantees to same-sex couples throughout the nation the freedom to marry and the right to recognition of their marriages. Loving and committed couples and their families in every state are now entitled to the far-reaching legal protections and respect for their relationships conferred through marriage.

These fact sheets offer guidance on common questions.

marriage equality

June 26, 2015

Marriage equality for everyone, everywhere!

rainbow flag Washington D.C. – The United States Supreme Court decided today, June 26, 2015 (the 2nd anniversary of the celebrated Windsor decision), that the 14th amendment of the US Constitution requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of State.

This opinion in In Obergefell v Hodges, et al, effectively nullifies the Texas state law and constitutional amendment seeking to define marriage as only between a man and woman.

To evaluate the impact of the Supreme Court’s opinion on your relationship, contact Rebecca today!


Benefits enrollment for same-sex spouses of Texas Employees Group Benefits Program members begins July 1, 2015

July 1, 2015 – Texas state agency and higher education employees and retired employees are eligible to enroll their same-sex spouses and dependent children of those spouses in group benefit programs with the same coverages and services, and at the same cost.

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February 24, 2015

Family and Medical Leave Act Updated for a Modern Family

Minneapolis – The US Department of Labor “…announced a rule change under the FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) to make sure that eligible workers in legal, same-sex marriages, regardless of where they live, will have the same rights as those in opposite-sex marriages to care for a spouse. We’ve extended that promise so that no matter who you love, you will receive the same rights and protections as everyone else.”

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News Release: February 19, 2015

Travis County clerk issues first legal gay marriage license in Texas.

Non-Married Couples Austin – The Travis County District Clerk issued a Texas marriage license to same sex couple, Suzanne Bryant and Sarah Goodfriend. Bryant and Goodfriend, who had been together over 30 years, petitioned a Texas District Judge to order the clerk to immediately issue the marriage license, citing Goodfriend’s health as the reason for urgent action. The clerk complied and the couple took vows in front of the courthouse, making the couple the first same sex couple to be married in Texas. The Attorney General immediately petitioned to stay the issuance of further marriage licenses.

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Non-married Couples

Non-Married Couples

In Texas, an adult couple can enter into a formal or informal (“common law”) marriage, with all the attendant rights and protections of a marriage. A couple who prefer instead to live together without marrying need to take precautions outlining their rights and obligations to each other and ensure that they do not create a common law marriage. They should call for an appointment to discuss their intentions and the consequences of such an arrangement.

An unmarried couple may be personally committed, but enjoy NO legal protection for their relationship. Without legal documents, these couples are not entitled to make medical decisions in an emergency, to handle the financial affairs of their partner or to inherit if their partner dies without a will. Only by creating rights in legally enforceable contracts can a couple protect each other and their relationship. Call Rebecca to consider the legal landmines couples who do not intend to marry may face.

Consider too, the Significant Seven documents that will provide some rights and protections. You may wish to consider creating a will, medical power of attorney, statutory durable power of attorney, declaration of guardian in case of later incompetence or need, directive to physicians, family and surrogates (living will), appointment of agent to control disposition of remains and a domestic partnership agreement. You may want to discuss a revocable or irrevocable trust, a declaration of guardian for minor children, an agreement creating joint tenancy with rights of survivorship and organ donation. Contact us today to protect your relationship.