The 2015 Supreme Court decision regarding the case of Obergefell v. Hodges formally legalized LGBTQ marriages at the federal level, and in doing so explicitly invalidated the section of Georgia state law that previously prohibited such marriages. In light of that ruling, LGBTQ couples in Georgia have all the same rights as other couples when it comes to marriage – including the right to pursue a divorce.
LGBTQ divorces are still a relatively new legal concept in this part of the United States, so you should strongly consider seeking help from a local attorney who is experienced with cases like yours before dissolving your marriage. Once retained, a dedicated Cherokee County LGBTQ divorce lawyer can work tirelessly on your behalf to protect your rights and best interests every step of the way through this difficult process.
Divorces in Cherokee County are subject to the same procedural requirements regardless of the gender identities or sexual orientations of either party. However, because Georgia did not recognize the legitimacy of non-heterosexual marriage until 2015, LGBTQ couples commonly run into unique and unexpected complications when attempting to divorce.
For example, under current state law, courts have the responsibility and authority to divide marital property equitably between both spouses based on their individual financial and personal contributions to the marital estate. However, state law defines marital property as any asset obtained by either party after the start of their marriage. Since same-sex marriages were not legally recognized until 2015, there may be some uncertainty about which of their assets would be considered marital property regardless of how long they were living together as if married.
As a result, the property division process can be especially complex during LGBTQ divorces, depending on when the parties’ relationship started and what property they have shared since their marriage became legally recognized under state law. This is just one of many issues that a seasoned Cherokee County LGBTQ divorce attorney can help you navigate.
In the past, it was very difficult for parents in same-sex relationships to obtain custody or visitation rights over their non-biological children, as same-sex couples were not allowed to adopt children and therefore had no way of establishing “presumption of parentage” under state law. Fortunately, a recent change in state law now allows same-sex parents to seek custody of a non-biological child following a divorce based on their “permanent, unequivocal, committed and responsible parental role in the child’s life.”
That being said, expanded rights for non-biological parents to seek custody or visitation during divorce proceedings does not necessarily mean they will be granted custody rights in every situation. A lawyer in Cherokee County could help pursue a mutually agreeable custody arrangement between divorcing partners in the LGBTQ community that ensures the child’s wellbeing and respects the rights of both parents, whether they are biologically related to the child or not.
Thanks to various legislative advancements at both the state and federal levels, members of the LGBTQ community have many more rights in the sphere of family law than they once did. However, effectively utilizing those rights can still be tricky without guidance from a legal professional who is sensitive to LGBTQ issues and experienced in resolving those issues amicably and efficiently.
A conversation with a Cherokee County LGBTQ divorce lawyer could answer all your questions and clarify the best path forward for the dissolution of your marriage. Call today to set up a private meeting with a member of our team.