Since 2015 when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, gay and queer couples in Roswsell have had the same marital rights as heterosexual couples. Not every marriage succeeds over the long term, and divorce sometimes follows.
Although same-sex and opposite-sex couples have similar legal rights, some situations arise in same-sex divorce that an opposite-sex couple does not typically encounter. A Roswell LGBTQ divorce lawyer understands those issues and can anticipate them, making the process smoother and less stressful for everyone involved. Reach out to learn more about working with our team of progressive divorce attorneys.
Although family law grants gay and straight couples equal marriage rights, it is not equally sensitive to some issues that frequently arise in a same-sex divorce. An attorney in Roswell with experience handling the dissolution of LGBTQ marriages can ensure that a judge is aware of the couple’s particular circumstances.
When a couple divorces, they must divide the marital property equitably. In most cases, that means as close to evenly as the circumstances merit. Marriage length is an issue the courts consider when deciding whether a property division plan is equitable.
A same-sex couple could not have married in Georgia before 2015. If spouses married before then in a different state or country that recognized gay marriage earlier, a court should note and consider that date when deciding property division and alimony issues.
Similarly, if there was a civil union or the couple cohabitated for a significant period before marrying, a judge has the discretion to consider the time when they were together but unmarried.
Handling issues concerning children is sometimes complicated when the spouses are not both the legal parents of the child. If the spouses adopt a child together, both are legal parents and have equal rights to custody, visitation, and obligations to pay child support. If one spouse is the biological parent and the other spouse legally adopted the child, both parents also have equal legal rights.
If one spouse is the biological or adoptive parent—that is, the legal parent – and the other spouse did not legally adopt the child, only the legal parent has custody and visitation rights. Georgia family law allows a non-biological or adoptive parent to file an acknowledgment that they are the parent of the child. However, this option is unavailable if the child already has two legal parents. Heartbreaking situations might arise if a spouse who has been acting as a child’s parent for years does not have a legal basis for asserting custody and visitation rights.
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 19-9-3 provides that a judge must consider the child’s best interests when making custody and visitation decisions. In cases where a spouse is not a legal parent, our attorneys can present evidence establishing that continuing to have a relationship with the divorcing spouse is in a child’s best interests because of their unique bonds of affection.
If divorcing spouses can negotiate issues regarding property division and child custody and visitation, they could seek an uncontested divorce. The uncontested divorce process allows both parties to decide on personal issues rather than giving a judge the power to decide. An uncontested divorce is usually faster, less expensive, and more private than a contested divorce.
Many marriage dissolutions begin as contested, but the spouses’ attorneys negotiate agreements that both individuals find acceptable while the family court case is proceeding. If the attorneys cannot come to a resolution, Georgia courts often direct spouses to mediation to try to work out their differences.
When spouses can agree to the major issues and formalize their agreement, Georgia family courts will usually honor them. However, a judge will review any agreement regarding child custody and visitation to ensure that it serves the child’s best interest. A Roswell LGBTQ divorce attorney can help a couple create a custody agreement and parenting plan to meet the family’s needs and best interests.
If your marriage is ending, you and your spouse are both going through a trying time. You need a legal representative who is not only familiar with the local divorce laws but is sensitive to and knowledgeable about the unique issues that sometimes arise in same-sex divorces.
A Roswell LGBTQ divorce lawyer can help you and your spouse dissolve your marriage with the least stress possible while advocating for your goals. Schedule a consultation with an experienced member of our team today.