Some Georgia couples enter into prenuptial agreements before they get married in order to protect themselves in the event of a divorce. While many younger people who have few assets when they get married often decide a prenuptial agreement isn't worth the expense or don't want to discuss it with their future spouses, people getting married for the second time often do decide it's a good idea.
Many same-sex couples living in Georgia were delighted when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2015 that same-sex marriages were legal across the country. However, the expanding definition of marriage under state and federal law has led to unforeseen ramifications in family courts.
On Oct. 21, the IRS announced that it will recognize same-sex marriages for tax purposes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. That could impact same-sex couples living in Georgia and the 12 other states that had not yet legalized marriage equality when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned same-sex marriage bans in June 2015.
The landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in June 2015 held that gay people in Georgia and across the country will have the right to marry if they so choose. In spite of how recent the decision is, there are still many legal hurdles that have yet to be overcome and fully determined.
Same-sex couples in Georgia who have been unable to marry in the state have had that right granted to them by a Supreme Court decision. On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to wed. The majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy noted that the definition of marriage has changed over time.
Currently, Georgia does not allow same-sex marriages, but courts still must deal with legal issues surrounding these unions. Rulings made by courts in liberal regions sometimes pose challenges to existing bans or prohibitions on same-sex couples, as was illustrated by a case in another state that has a constitutional ban on gay marriages.
Domestic partnerships differ from traditional marriages in many ways, but they also share similarities, especially in regards to ending the relationship. When partners wish to separate, they have two options for where to file their petition. If the partners have very few assets and agree to separate, they may file their petition through the county clerk's office or Secretary of State. If a couple has major assets or one partner contests the separation, however, they may need to file a petition in court.
Many Georgia residents hold strong views both in favor of and against same-sex marriage. While some hold these opinions based on religious or moral beliefs, others see same-sex marriage as a civil rights issue. Passions run high on both sides of the argument, and the issue has featured prominently in recent years on ballot initiatives and in the courts.
Georgia banned same-sex marriage with a 2004 constitutional amendment, but the move is being challenged in the courts. Similar efforts have been initiated in all of the other states that currently do not allow same-sex marriages. The group bringing the action in Georgia is spearheaded by a same-sex couple who filed a suit in April 2014 petitioning a federal court to compel Georgia to recognize same-sex marriages.
Same-sex couples that have not been allowed to legally marry in Georgia have a reason to be cautiously optimistic for change. A ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond, Virginia allowed a decision to end the state's same-sex marriage ban to proceed. While the U.S. Supreme Court has now blocked that ruling and granted a stay, supporters of same-sex couples' right to marry in Georgia hope that their state will be the next to repeal its same-sex marriage ban.