Several readers have sent me emails asking the same question: “Are Georgia domestic partnerships limited to same-sex couples?” The answer is “Of course not.” Same-sex couples living in Georgia tend to use domestic partnerships more frequently because of the political and legal climate that surrounds same-sex marriage. Simply put, same-sex couples are the ones who most frequently create domestic partnerships in Georgia because they lack the alternatives available to heterosexual couples. However, many heterosexual couples seek the protections of a domestic partnership agreement.
For example, consider the rather common case of a boyfriend and girlfriend who live together, but are not married. They may be philosophically opposed to marriage, or they may be giving marriage a practice run – “try before you buy” if you will. In either case, the law views each person as roommates. While you might be living with the most important person in your life, the law does not see it that way. In this case, a full or limited domestic partnership might be an appropriate choice for the couple.
Another common situation is an older, or middle-aged, couple, where at least one person has been married before. While they may be happily in love with each other, the scars and bitter experiences of their earlier marriages and past divorces (even uncontested divorces) leave them unwilling to remarry. Or one of their divorce settlements might leave one or the other in a situation where remarriage is not an option. In this case, a domestic partnership agreement could be the right choice.
A less common scenario is polygamy. While polygamy is often a taboo subject in America, it is common and legal in other parts of the world. What is the loving family to do, where the husband has legally married more than one wife in his home country, and then the family decides to immigrate? Under American law, polygamy is illegal, so he has to choose which of his wives he wants to keep, and which one he wants to “demote.” A domestic partnership would be an excellent choice to make sure his entire, extended family is cared for and protected.
As you can see, domestic partnership agreements are an option for everyone. Everyone’s situation is unique however, so while a domestic partnership is always an option, it may not be the best option. That’s why, when thinking of making a, hopefully, life-long commitment, you should consult one of our domestic partnership attorneys who specializes in GA family law so that you can do what is right for you.