As the nation celebrates Pride Month, many couples in the LGBTQIA+ community reflect on the fight for equality, including the recognition of LGBTQIA+ marriage. Unfortunately, the long and winding road toward the legalization of marriages in Georgia often creates added complications when LGBTQIA+ couples divorce.
If you are in the process of an LGBTQIA+ divorce or are even contemplating a separation, you need to discuss certain issues with your divorce attorney to ensure that your rights and interests are fully protected in the process.
Determining and Dividing Marital Property Can Be a Problem for LGBTQIA+ Couples
In any divorce, some of the biggest challenges—and the biggest fights—center on the division of assets and debts. Generally, the property and debts of a divorcing couple are first classified as either separate–meaning they belong solely to one spouse–or marital, meaning they are shared by both partners and need to be allocated between them.
The deciding factor for most property and debts is the date the marriage started. But this can be difficult to determine both fairly and legally for many LGBTQIA+ couples. For instance, if the couple lived in or traveled to a state that allowed LGBTQIA+ marriages and got married in a ceremony there, should that count as the start of their marriage, or should it be based on the date the marriage was recognized in Georgia? Since the division of assets is based on equity(fairness) rather than equality, a judge could divide property in a way that takes a variety of factors into account.
You need to make sure your divorce attorney has all the facts and knows all the arguments that can weigh in favor of your interests, and that your lawyer understands the latest legal precedent on the subject.
Alimony Could Be Unpredictable
The start date of a marriage affects awards of spousal support almost as greatly as it affects the division of property. In addition, because LGBTQIA+ marriage is a new legal phenomenon and alimony is traditionally associated with older housewives who lack work experience, some judges could be more reluctant to award alimony to a spouse in a “modern” LGBTQIA+ marriage.
The fact is that when one partner focuses on a career while the other focuses on building a home life, the spouses’ earning prospects are going to differ, and that difference will become more pronounced as the years pass. This remains true regardless of the age or gender of the spouses. When a spouse sacrifices their career to build a home life, those contributions deserve to be recognized and that spouse deserves an opportunity to increase their ability to provide independent financial support.
One Parent Could Be Left Out of Parental Rights
LGBTQIA+ couples often choose to build a family through adoption or assisted reproduction technology. Sometimes, a partner already has a child when the couple gets married. Even if a partner raises the child as their own, if they have not taken steps to formally adopt the child and they do not have a biological connection to the child, that partner could be left without parental rights in divorce.
Protect Your Future by Working with a Divorce Lawyer Who Knows How to Navigate the Potential Pitfalls in LGBTQIA+ Divorce
You need to understand and address all the unique issues that apply only to LGBTQIA+ divorce to preserve your rights and protect your future interests. At Tessie D. Edwards & Associates, P.C., we know how to help you come out ahead in divorce, and we will fight to protect all of your interests, all of the time. Schedule a free consultation with us today to learn more about what we can do for you.