Unique Challenges LGBTQIA+ Couples Face During Divorce in Georgia

Pride Month not only celebrates the victories of the LGBTQIA+ community but also acknowledges the ongoing struggles they face. Despite a decade of legalized LGBTQIA+ marriage in Georgia, LGBTQIA+ couples still confront unique challenges when divorcing. It’s vital that your chosen legal representation, we are equipped to handle these complexities and defend your interests.

The Complexities of Property Division

In any divorce, determining the classification and equitable division of marital property and debts is a crucial step. However, this process can be particularly challenging for LGBTQIA+ couples due to the ambiguity surrounding the recognized start date of their marriage.

Generally, property owned before the marriage is considered separate, while property acquired during the marriage is subject to division. But what if you and your partner lived together, blending your lives and resources before your union was legally recognized in Georgia? Or perhaps you married in another state where your union wasn’t recognized? These scenarios muddy the waters around the ‘start date’ of the marriage, impacting property division. At Tessie Edwards & Associates, we strive to ensure you secure a fair share of marital assets and aren’t burdened with an unfair proportion of debt.

Child Custody and Child Support Challenges

Child custody and support present another layer of complexity for many LGBTQIA+ couples. It’s crucial to establish this legal parental relationship before finalizing the divorce.

  • Biological Parent Rights and Non-Biological Parent Rights in Georgia: In a scenario where one partner is the biological parent of the child, the legal parental rights of the non-biological parent could be a point of contention. If the non-biological parent has not legally adopted the child, establishing parental rights can be a complex process. This is because Georgia law doesn’t automatically recognize the non-biological parent’s rights, even though they may have played an equally significant role in raising the child.
  • Adopted Children and Legal Parental Status: In situations where a child has been adopted, both partners generally have legal parental status. However, complications can arise if only one partner officially adopted the child. In such cases, the non-adopting partner might need to undertake steps to secure their parental rights, a process that can be both emotionally draining and legally intricate.
  • Stepparent Adoption and Second Parent Adoption in Georgia: One way for a non-biological or non-adoptive parent to secure their parental rights is through stepparent adoption or second parent adoption. This process allows the non-biological parent to adopt their partner’s biological or adopted child, thereby securing their parental rights. However, these processes can be complicated and require legal guidance to navigate effectively.
  • Child Custody and Visitation Rights: When it comes to child custody and visitation rights, Georgia courts will generally prioritize the best interests of the child. This standard applies to all couples, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. However, LGBTQIA+ couples might face unique challenges when attempting to demonstrate the strength and validity of their parental relationships, especially for non-biological or non-adoptive parents.

The Alimony Question

While alimony isn’t automatic in divorce cases, courts tend to be more favorable towards it in long-term marriages. This decision hinges heavily on the recognized start date of your marriage, further emphasizing the importance of your divorce attorney’s ability to argue your interests effectively.

Tessie D. Edwards & Associates: Championing LGBTQIA+ Couples in Divorce

Even under the simplest circumstances, divorce can be an emotionally taxing process. When it involves complex legal and financial matters, it can become overwhelming. The experienced team at Tessie D. Edwards & Associates is dedicated to protecting your interests during this challenging period. We strive to provide you with the best possible platform to move forward after your divorce. Contact us today for a confidential consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.

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