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A Domestic Partnership Agreement, also commonly called a Joint Property Agreement or a Living Together Agreement, is a document that 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.
At this time, same sex partners cannot legally marry or enter into civil unions in Georgia, and even having a Commitment Ceremony does not grant any legal rights to a same sex couple. Therefore, a Domestic Partnership Agreement is an important legal document for any unmarried, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender relationships, since rights between same sex and unmarried couples are governed by principles of contract law, not family law.
In the event of potential disputes, misunderstandings or death, a Domestic Partnership Agreement can help clarify ownership of property, provide guidance for dividing property in the event of a separation, and specify a dispute resolution mechanism such as mediation or arbitration prior to the commencement of litigation.
Child custody cases involving domestic partners are often complex. If the child is the offspring of an unmarried heterosexual couple, the paternity of the child may be in question, requiring legitimation (legal acknowledgement). However, if the domestic partners are a non-traditional couple, establishing parental rights may be even more difficult. A domestic partnership agreement that outlines the terms of custody and visitation can help, but child custody matters between domestic partners tend to be more complex than between divorcing couples simply because the law is not as clear.
It is also recommended that unmarried and same sex couples possess the following documents:
We encourage Alternative Dispute Resolution— a more amicable approach to resolving conflict. Our family law attorneys can steer you through divorce mediation or a collaborative divorce.
Understand your options with an initial consultation. Please call Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor today at 678-824-1158 or fill out our simple contact form to set up an appointment or to get additional information. Our office hours are from 8:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, with evening appointments available by request. We accept all major credit cards.
With four strategically located offices in Alpharetta, Buckhead, Dunwoody, and Marietta, we act as advocates for families throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area, including clients in Atlanta, Marietta, Alpharetta, Buckhead, Canton, Cumming, Dallas, Decatur, Douglasville, Duluth, Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Lawrenceville, Kennesaw, Milton, Roswell, Smyrna and Sandy Springs.