Many of us take for granted our ability to choose our relationship status on Facebook. Whether married, in a relationship, or it’s complicated, traditional couples have long had the option of selecting the relationship status that best describes their lives. Now same-sex couples can do the same, as Facebook has expanded its list of relationship status options to include “in a domestic partnership” and “in a civil union.” Previously, Facebook users could choose between single, it’s complicated, in a relationship, in an open relationship, engaged, widowed, separated, and divorced.
While these and other changes may reflect a growing acceptance of non-traditional couples by social media, the laws in many states are not so inclusive. Many states do not recognize same-sex marriage or domestic partnerships, meaning partners’ responsibilities and commitments to each other may not be respected after one’s death or other unforeseen event. Regardless of state laws, it’s important that same-sex couples understand that they have valuable legal resources at their disposal to protect their interests, plan for their future, and provide for their loved ones.
Domestic Partnership Agreements Under Georgia Law
Although many states, including Georgia, do not recognize same-sex marriage, gay and lesbian couples can still formalize their relationship and protect their interests using certain legal documents. These legal documents may include domestic partnership agreements, medical directives, powers of attorney, and wills.
One such resource is a domestic partnership agreement, which is a legal agreement allowing same-sex couples to decide on their duties and responsibilities to one another. Also referred to as joint property agreements, a domestic partnership agreement can set forth how property will be owned, how income and assets will be shared, and how property will be distributed if the relationship ends or a partner dies.
These legal tools can provide non-traditional couples the certainty and legal security they are not granted under state laws. Unfortunately, many couples do not formalize their commitments to one another before a partner’s death, and assets are often distributed to biological family members, regardless of the partner’s wishes. Making decisions about what happens in the event a loved one dies or a relationship ends may feel uncomfortable, but it may be the best way for same-sex couples to protect their interests and gain peace of mind.
Take The Next Step To Protect Your Relationship
Traditional couples are not the only ones who want to provide for their loved ones and plan for their future. If you have questions regarding domestic partnership agreements and similar legal documents, it is essential to consult an experienced domestic partnership attorney who can ensure your rights and interests are fully protected.