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How the Supreme Court ruling affects same-sex family laws

With gay marriage now legal throughout the United States, several things have changed for same-sex families. Same-sex marriage is equal to heterosexual marriage now, and that means that divorce, child custody and other issues are also being equalized across the board.

While there are still unanswered questions about same-sex nuptials, the landmark decision has provided solid ground for same-sex couples to marry and divorce with more legal options. The same precedents that have been used for opposite-sex couples can be used for same-sex couples now, where this used to be a completely different set of laws.

For example, did you know that in the past, resolving child custody issues, child support problems, dividing assets and separating a same-sex couple would have to be done through several different lawsuits instead of one single divorce? Now, it will be less costly and less time intensive for same-sex couples to separate.

There are still some concerns about adoption processes that need to be addressed. In a general marriage, it's assumed that when a child is born to one parent, the other parent is also biologically related unless stated otherwise. With same-sex couples, this obviously can't be true. Same-sex adoption may still need to take place to allow one parent to legally take on the legal responsibility to the child, but that remains to be seen in court. Right now, same-sex parents can adopt a child much like a stepparent would in a person's second marriage.

Georgia may have a particularly difficult time with the parental status of same-sex couples because of the laws being gender specific. For couples at the time being, it's normal to still obtain an adoption to verify parentage.

Source: Daily Report, "Gay Marriage Ruling Leaves Questions, Work for Family Law Attorneys," Alyson Palmer, June 29, 2015

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