Representation In Domestic Partner And Same-Sex Marriage Disputes
In recent years, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons have been forming family structures that are, potentially, not legally recognized. Unfortunately, these unions sometimes break up, just like traditional opposite-sex marriages do.
The problem is that, compared to a traditional opposite-sex divorce, same-sex/domestic partnership dissolutions can be much more legally complex and difficult to sort out.
Marriage equality may have made some of these issues easier to resolve because divorce is now possible. But many same-sex couples got married after spending years or decades living in committed relationship that was exactly like marriage, but with none of the legal protections.
When they did get officially married, those legal protections were not backdated. Therefore, wills, agreements regarding joint ownership of real estate and other assets, powers of attorney and even advance directives are still needed, just as they are for opposite sex married couples.
Finding Solutions To Complex Problems
While same-sex couples often experience the same kinds of issues that an opposite-sex couple deals with, the solutions are frequently far more complex for a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender couple. Some of these problems are about property ownership.
What percentage of jointly used property belongs to whom? Who contributed how much to a business run by both, and how does that get divided? What about the children? Who gets custody? What about child support? Visitation? Who gets what personal property? Is it legally enforceable?
There is also the issue of enforcement of unwritten promises. If one partner made promises of future income or an inheritance to the other, is it legal? How can that promise be enforced?
While marriage equality has leveled the “playing field,” couples who have been together for many years and who then take advantage of the right to marry, need to understand that property acquired prior to the marriage does not automatically become marital property and agreements may still be needed to protect both parties, in the event of a breakup or divorce.
Marriage equality has not provided answers to all of these questions, but attorneys like me continue to help clients seek the answers they need.
Seek The Help Of A Skilled And Knowledgeable Attorney
You need an experienced, knowledgeable attorney to help you with these problems. I am Charles M. Hall, an Atlanta, Georgia, domestic partnership lawyer. This area of law has been an important part of my practice for many years, and I have successfully counseled hundreds of people in just these kinds of matters. I will give you the personal attention you need and deserve, and I will work to find the solution to your problem.