Marriage equality is once again in the news, but many people do not know that divorce equality (marriage equality’s counterpart) has not exactly lived up to the equality part. Specifically, depending on a Macon, Georgia, same-sex couple’s circumstances, they may have a very different divorce experience.
Not as socially acceptable
In traditional marriages, in the past, divorce was severely stigmatized, especially for women. Indeed, to be a divorced woman was to be a pariah in the community in years past. However, with the women’s liberation movement and the explosion of women in the workplace, divorce is no longer a four-letter word. Indeed, it has been normalized socially and throughout the media landscape. It is often seen as empowering.
This is not the case for Macon, Georgia, same-sex couples, unfortunately. Since same-sex marriage is a relatively new legal allowance, the societal norms have not caught up yet. In fact, there are very few, if any, positive same-sex divorce stories in any given week, and there are rarely any shown in popular pop culture either. Even worse is that many in the LGBTQIA+ community mistakenly allow the weight of history to create its own social stigma against divorce.
Property is treated differently as well
For opposite-sex marriages, there has never been a barrier to marriage, and marriages were actually encouraged. In decades past, “living in sin” and social stigma pushed couples to get married quickly, which is why the courtship phase of these marriages often lasts for a few years or less.
This is not the case for many same-sex couples though because they could not get married until recently. As a result, some same-sex divorcees were together for much longer than their marriage lasted. This can have some unique issues for marriage property division as more property was purchased prior to the marriage. If that property is classified as nonmarital property, whoever’s name is on the title will receive a windfall.
Another issue that is frequently different for Macon, Georgia, same-sex divorces is child custody. This is because child custody laws were designed to follow biology first, and then adoption. For same-sex couples, this presents a lot of issues. For surrogacy, only one parent may be the biological parent.
A judge could treat that biological parent much better than the adoptive parent. In an adoption, one or both parents may be the legal adoptive parents, even though they have parented the children for the exact same amount of time. This could lead to a parent losing their child, should their legal adoption have issues.