pinterest

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender divorce can be complicated, especially when a couple shares children. Because same-sex marriage became legal relatively recently, many local judges are still figuring out how to apply statutes written for heterosexual couples in a way that is fair to LGBTQ couples. Regardless of your sexual or gender identity, divorcing your partner may be one of the most emotionally painful experiences in your life.

Fortunately, a Cumming LGBTQ divorce lawyer can help you through this challenging time by providing sound legal advice and qualified representation. Our firm’s attorneys understand the complexities of LGBTQ divorce and will work diligently to ensure your case is equitably resolved.

Common Issues in Local LGBTQ Divorces

Like other divorcing couples, LGBTQ spouses may encounter many issues in the divorce process. Some of the most common are child custody and support disputes, how to equitably divide shared assets, and either party’s entitlement to spousal support.

It is essential to thoroughly address each of these issues during settlement negotiations. Otherwise, if the spouses cannot agree on how to resolve these issues, an experienced Cumming LGBTQ marriage dissolution attorney can help them seek a final resolution in court.

Contested vs Uncontested Divorce between Same-Sex Couples

If divorcing spouses agree on how to resolve all their marital issues, they can proceed with an uncontested LGBTQ divorce. This means their agreement may be incorporated into a written Marital Settlement Agreement. An uncontested divorce typically saves same-sex spouses time, reduces their level of conflict and discomfort in court, and costs significantly less than a contested divorce.

If any marital issue, including child custody, remains in dispute, the divorce is considered ‘contested’ and must proceed to trial. A judge must decide all unresolved matters for a divorcing couple, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender expression. Contested divorces between LGBTQ couples in Cumming are typically more expensive and take longer to resolve, often due to property disputes.

Dividing Property between LGBTQ Spouses in Cumming

State law requires divorcing spouses to ‘equitably’ divide their marital property and debt. In contested cases, a judge must consider many factors to determine a fair division, including the length of the parties’ marriage. Because same-sex marriage was legalized only recently, this can be problematic for some LGBTQ couples. A judge may interpret the law very strictly and consider only the length of the legal marriage and not the entirety of the parties’ relationship, resulting in an inequitable division of assets.

Many LGBTQ spouses who were together for years before their union was recognized by the courts may have acquired substantial assets in their individual names during that time. The accrual of property before marriage can complicate the categorization of ‘marital’ versus ‘nonmarital’ property. Consequently, property division in a same-sex divorce can be especially difficult. A knowledgeable divorce attorney in our area can propose solutions that reflect an LGBTQ couple’s whole relationship and their intentions when they began acquiring property as a married couple.

Child Custody and the Equitable Care Act

A child born to or adopted by one of the members of an LGBTQ couple before they married does not automatically become the legal child of their partner after marriage. To be a legal parent, the other person must have adopted the child. If they did not complete a second-parent adoption and the couple divorces, the rights of the parent who did not adopt to have custody or visitation with the child could be in jeopardy.

The passage of Georgia’s Equitable Care Act in 2019 allows a spouse who is not a child’s legal parent to request custody. To qualify as an Equitable Caregiver, an LGBTQ spouse must have:

  • Been a committed and responsible parental figure to the child;
  • Consistently taken care of the child without expecting financial compensation;
  • Established a strong bond with the child; and
  • Established a relationship with the child such that the child depended on them.

The child’s legal parent must have also acknowledged and accepted the relationship between their spouse and child. Prospective parents of any gender identity must also prove that the child would suffer physical or emotional harm if the Equitable Caregiver is not granted custody. A parent in the LGBTQ community who is faced with possibly losing contact with a child they love and helped raise should consider speaking to an experienced Cumming lawyer as soon as possible.

Get Help from a Cumming LGBTQ Attorney

If you are a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning person and your marriage is ending, it may be helpful to consult an experienced Cumming LGBTQ divorce lawyer. Our firm’s compassionate attorneys understand how important your children are to you and will work hard to ensure that you maintain a close and meaningful relationship with them after the divorce. Call our team today.

Recent Blog Posts
The 2021 Child Tax Credit Expansion
The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on parents and families. In response, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue...
Remembering Professor Anne Dupre
Sara’s Toughest Teacher and a Giant in the Legal Field By Attorney and Founder Sara Khaki Think back to...
The Big Mother’s Day Dilemma
How to Balance what You Want with the Needs of Your Kids By Attorney and Founder Sara Khaki When...
View All Posts
N/A

Atlanta Divorce Law Group

Alpharetta Office

Atlanta Divorce Law Group
3560 Old Milton Parkway,
Alpharetta GA 30005

Buckhead Office

Atlanta Divorce Law Group
3355 Lenox Road,
Suite 750

Atlanta GA 30326

By Appointment Only
Marietta Office

Atlanta Divorce Law Group
533 Johnson Ferry Rd
Suite D-450

Marietta GA 30068

By Appointment Only
Suwanee Office

Atlanta Divorce Law Group
593 Main St,
Suite B,

Suwanee GA 30024

By Appointment Only