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LGBTQ+ Marriage and Divorce in Georgia: Know Your Rights

In 2015, the supreme court ruled in the Obergefell v. Hodges making marriage equality the law throughout the country. Unsurprisingly, with same-sex marriage comes same-sex divorce in some cases, and it’s essential to know your rights as an LGBTQ+ person in Georgia. Spouses in same-sex marriages are afforded the same legal rights as their opposite-sex counterparts, but that doesn’t mean it’s always an easy road. For couples now exploring their options with separation, divorce, and child custody, what is the best way to move forward? Here are a few things you should know. 

Asset Division 

Marriage equality didn’t become the law in all 50 states until 2015. Before that, many LGBTQ+ couples were already together, so a blending of assets happened long before marriage. That can sometimes make the division of assets a little more complicated in a divorce. 

Legally, marital assets are only those acquired during the marriage, but what about joint assets from before? If spouses are unable to agree, the courts have the discretion to divide the marital assets.  But what is a marital asset and what is not?  That’s why it’s crucial to have a good family lawyer on your side. 

Spousal Support 

Also known as alimony, spousal support is court-ordered financial support from one spouse to another. It’s most commonly associated with husbands and wives, especially for women who did not work during the marriage. Spousal support is not that simple and even less so for LGBTQ+ couples. 

Spousal support is generally determined based on the length of the marriage, but this can be even more complicated for same-sex spouses. Otherwise, spousal support will be ordered for higher-earning partners to pay lower- or non-earning spouses. 

Child Custody 

For LGBTQ+ families, the question of child custody has several hurdles to jump. In all cases, one or both parents won’t have a biological relationship with the child.  If there is a biological mother this becomes even more complicated.  Three parents are not legally authorized under Georgia law.  However, the Equitable Parenting Act, enacted last year, is a new law that is largely untested at the appellate court (I have one of, if not the first, appeal pending on that statute as this blog goes out).  This new law gives to non-biological parents the same rights as biological parents if circumstances are met.  Thus, opening the possibility for an award of child custody and visitation even with parties who are not the biological or adopted parent of a child.  The need for an experienced family lawyer increases exponentially as we get into new legal territory. 

Talk to an Experienced Family Lawyer

LGBTQ+ divorce requires legal expertise, so trying to go it alone or with a less experienced lawyer can backfire quickly. You want to understand your rights for support, assets, and child custody. 

We are Georgia divorce and child custody attorneys. This is all we have done since 1995. We can help. If you need help or have any questions, we would be happy to speak with you via email, text, or phone. Check us out at

Scott Shaw
Shaw Law Firm, PC
(770) 594-8309 (phone or text)
(678) 522-4799 (text)
[email protected]