Ever since the United States Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationally in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015), there have been many same sex unions. And, of course, sometimes those marriages end in divorce.
From a procedural standpoint, there is no difference between a same-sex divorce and opposite-sex divorce. In the state of Georgia, just like throughout the country, the same laws and rules apply – the law is the law.
The divorce process under Georgia law is the same for same sex couples as well as opposite sex couples. Both types of divorce cases are filed in the same court (which in Georgia is in the county's Superior Court), the same rules apply, and many of the same issues must be addressed.
Spousal support, division of property, child custody, and Georgia residency requirements are just a few of the issues that might need to be addressed when filing for divorce – and the law is the same regardless of the genders of the married spouses.
Where there is a financial disparity between the couple, and one spouse would suffer without economic support, Georgia courts have the authority to order spousal support, or alimony, to one spouse. Alimony can be granted with same sex divorces also.
Alimony can be an issue for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. It can be a tricky and complicated issue and it is in many ways subjective. The court can consider several factors when calculating spousal support, including:
- How long the marriage lasted
- The lifestyle to which the couple had grown accustomed
- The mental and physical ability of each spouse to earn a living
- How division of property was handled during the marriage, and
- Percentage of contributions each spouse made during the marriage for household and financial responsibilities
And a judge can use his/her discretion when considering any other factors the judge deems relevant that may pertain to spousal support.
The division of property is another issue to be considered when divorcing, whether or not the spouses share a gender or not. Property can include cars, real property (real estate), collectible assets, retirement accounts and other personal property, including things like guns, baseball cards, coins, furniture and artwork. Only property acquired during the marriage will be a part of the division. If, however, the property was acquired before the marriage, it will, generally, remain in the hands of the spouse who originally acquired it. If a spouse gets an inheritance during the marriage, that spouse can have sole ownership of the inherited assets under Georgia law, with some limited exceptions.
If a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement was entered into and the courts rule that it is enforceable, the prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement may determine the division of property.
In Georgia, residency is established when you have lived here for six months. The six months must be prior to filing the divorce case and six consecutive months. Both parties do not have to reside Georgia. Indeed, one party can live in another state or even in another country. This rule can apply to only one party who is a part of the case – so only one party needs to be a Georgia resident to get a divorce in the Peach State.
Of course, it is always a better idea for the couple to decide the major issues regarding spousal support and division of property amongst themselves instead of the court system. But we can certainly help you with any gay uncontested divorce or contested divorce.
Please call us at 678-215-4106 for a case evaluation!