Atlanta Domestic Partnership Law
Experienced Domestic Partnership Lawyers in Atlanta GA and Surrounding Areas
You and your partner have formed a loving relationship and a household – why shouldn’t you be entitled to the same rights as a traditional couple? The fact is that even though Georgia still doesn’t legally recognize same-sex marriages, the state is home to one of the nation’s largest gay and lesbian populations. There are a variety of steps you can take to give your relationship some legal security. At Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC, our compassionate domestic partnership attorneys have worked with countless same-sex couples to craft domestic partnership agreements, powers of attorney, medical directives, wills and other documents designed to provide the extra legal security you deserve.
Some top benefits of securing a domestic partnership in Georgia
- Protection of your rights as a couple
- Possibility of obtaining family-related benefits from work, including healthcare
- Ensuring that financial, medical, and legal decisions follow your spousal wishes
The Georgia gay marriage lawyers at Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC have successfully completed countless domestic partnership agreements for LGBT couples in Atlanta and throughout the state. We have the expertise and experience to work with you on securing your rights and the rights of your family.
Impact for Georgia Gay Community
After the twin decisions of the United States Supreme Court on DOMA and California gay marriage rights, our gay friends and clients in Georgia are now focusing on the questions around what these decisions mean here in Georgia, since we are among the states that still don’t recognize gay marriage.
Rights for Gay Married Couples Living in Georgia
Are gay and lesbian married couples living in Georgia now entitled to the same benefits afforded all married couples living in Georgia? The answer is, unfortunately, no and for the immediate future, we see no easy work around for that.
In regard to taxes, here’s where it gets tricky. The Federal government now recognizes gay marriage and gay couples in some states can file a joint Federal income tax return. Yet, since Georgia doesn’t allow married gay couples to have Georgia-based rights, it’s unlikely they will allow the submission of a state joint income tax return. The important question of whether married same-sex couples living in Georgia may file joint federal income tax returns remains somewhat murky as of July 2013, the time of this writing. The federal government is examining ways to extend federal benefits to as many married same-sex couples as possible, regardless of their state of residency, but more time is needed to see how this plays out.
Inheritance – Wills
Gay and lesbian Georgia couples often have concerns about inheritance. Simply put, if you don’t have a Last Will and Testament, who gets your assets upon your death? Georgia law provides, generally, that if a person dies without a Will (“intestate) their assets (“estate”) goes to their closest living biological relative. Since married gay couples are still not spouses under Georgia law, they are not likely to be “heirs at law.” That is a serious problem, however, there is an easy solution. Regardless of how and when Georgia recognizes same-sex marriage, everyone should have a Will clearly stating what you want to happen to your property upon your death. Georgia courts may not, generally, always be friendly to the legal rights of gay Georgians, but Georgia courts do recognize and enforce Wills.
Securing Domestic Partnership in Atlanta, GA
As of July 2013, there are 13 States (plus the District of Columbia) where same-sex couples may marry, as well as several foreign countries (including Canada, and Mexico’s Federal District). Regardless of when marriage equality arrives in Georgia, same-sex Georgia couples can take an important step to protect their relationship by entering into a domestic partnership agreement (often times referred to as a “gay pre-nup”). A domestic partnership agreement – sometimes referred to as a joint property agreement – explains the contractual legal rights and responsibilities of each partner when a couple decides to form a long-term committed relationship and own property together. A domestic partnership agreement may also set forth a roadmap for the dissolution of a same-sex relationship, in the event that the couple breaks up.
Additional LGBT Considerations
There are also several other critical legal steps that LGBT couples in Georgian should take to protect their relationships and families. Durable (“financial”) Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives for Health Care (sometimes referred to as a “Living Will”) allow same-sex couples to designate each other to make financial and health care decisions for the other when necessary. Despite not yet recognizing gay marriage, Georgia does generally honor Powers of Attorney and Advance Directive for Health Care documents between same-sex couples.
Contact us at 404.844.2856 today for a consultation. Our office is located in the heart of Buckhead at 2973 Hardman Court, Atlanta, GA 30305