Same-Sex Marriages and Families
Same-sex marriage is now legal in all states, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic June 2015 decision. But same-sex couples will continue to have unique legal needs, and the attorneys at Boyd Collar Nolen Tuggle & Roddenbery have the experience to help navigate through issues involving marriage, divorce, child custody, property division and other family law matters.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
One area that longtime same-sex couples should consider is prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Couples who married in states that allowed same-sex marriage before the Supreme Court ruling, but who then moved to a state such as Georgia that didn’t recognize the marriage, may have made investments, bought property and accumulated wealth individually rather than jointly because such assets were not previously viewed as marital property. Couples now considering marriage also may face the issue of creating marital property from assets accumulated individually when they lived together before marriage.
These issues can be addressed in prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, which will decrease the chances of disputes and disappointments in the event of divorce or a partner’s death or disability.
Couples with children often have had to live with the unfortunate legal conundrum where one partner is the biological parent while the other partner has no legal parenting rights. Prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling, many states, including Georgia, did not allow second-parent adoptions by same-sex couples. Legally, that meant the second parent had no more rights than a family friend in matters governing a child’s health care, education and other decisions. Further, if the biological parent died, the second parent had no guarantee he or she would receive custody.
Despite the legalization of same-sex marriage, parents in such families do not automatically gain equal legal rights in regard to children who came into the relationship before the law changed. This situation can be remedied with a stepparent adoption, which grants both partners equal parenting rights.
While the Supreme Court has made same-sex marriage the law of the land, many complications will emerge as states adjust their laws to comply with the ruling. Our lawyers have the experience and commitment to counsel same-sex couples in all matters involving marriage and domestic partnership as state legislatures and court rulings gradually add guidance and clarity to all the issues that affect their unions.