If you are a member of the LGBTQ community and have a partner, many of the decisions you encounter as your relationship progresses are similar to those every couple must make, including whether you should marry and have children. Also like other couples, you may face difficult decisions about your finances and custody of your children if you marry but the relationship falters.
Unlike heterosexual couples, LGBTQ spouses may face some unique challenges if their marriage ends, including whether both parents have equal child custody rights and how to divide property they acquired prior to their legal marriage. If you have decided to divorce, you will likely have many questions about what to expect and how to protect your interests. A Johns Creek LGBTQ divorce lawyer can answer those questions. Our firm’s experienced divorce attorneys understand how to safeguard your legal rights regarding your children, your assets, and your future.
To start a divorce, one spouse must file a Complaint for Divorce in the Superior Court where either spouse lives. The spouse requesting the divorce must have resided in Georgia for at least 90 days prior to filing. A non-resident may file for divorce against a spouse who has been a Georgia resident for six months.
Additionally, the spouse filing for divorce must provide an acceptable reason why the marriage should be terminated, known as a ‘ground’ for divorce. Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated §19-5-3, there are 13 grounds for divorce. The grounds most frequently cited in LBGTQ divorce include:
If any of these grounds are proven, a court may dissolve the couple’s marriage. A knowledgeable attorney can explain the residency requirements and grounds for divorce and file a divorce complaint in the proper court on behalf of an LGBTQ couple.
State child custody, child support, property division, and alimony laws apply equally to all couples. However, LGBTQ spouses who decide to divorce face particular challenges that may not arise in heterosexual divorces.
Many LGBTQ couples have children who are the biological or adopted children of only one spouse. However, in some cases, the partner who is not the children’s legal parent has acted as a parent throughout the children’s lives and may still retain some parental rights as a result. Each spouse’s legal relationship to the children is essential in determining child custody, visitation, and child support in the event of divorce.
Local judges may apply state laws regarding alimony and the equitable division of marital property differently between LGBTQ and heterosexual divorces. One of the primary factors the court must consider when dividing property and awarding spousal support is the length of the parties’ marriage. In LGBTQ relationships, the spouses may have been together for many years before gaining the legal right to marry in 2015. However, no law requires judges to consider the couple’s entire relationship, which may result in inequitable property and alimony awards in many Johns Creeks LGBTQ divorces.
Divorce is never easy, and if you are a member of the LGBTQ community, it can be even more difficult. If you want to end your marriage or believe your spouse may intend to do so, a Johns Creek LGBTQ divorce lawyer can guide you through the process of dissolving a marriage. Our firm’s compassionate attorneys can answer all your questions so that you are better prepared to make decisions that protect you and your family during this difficult transition. Call today.