Many couples choose to live together without ever becoming legally married. Understanding how cohabitation can affect issues related to personal finances, alimony, and child support is an important part of protecting you and your family’s wellbeing.
In Georgia family courts, cohabiting couples aren’t protected by the same rights as married couples. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney can help you avoid unwanted legal issues that can impact you and your child.
Cohabitation in Georgia
When two people are legally married, any children born will be considered to be fathered by the husband. This allows fathers to have their names included on birth certificates. It also establishes legal responsibilities for the child.
Marriage in the state of Georgia allows children to have rights to any future inheritance as well as benefits related to social security and health care.
But the law doesn’t grant the same rights when couples are cohabiting. The husband is not automatically assumed to be the father.
A father needs to establish paternity by completing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. Establishing paternity can ensure that the child is entitled to receive child support.
Child Support Orders in Georgia
All parents are legally required to provide the financial resources needed to raise their children. A court order can ensure that cohabiting individuals can receive child support.
There are guidelines in place to help court judges determine how much child support should be provided to the custodial parent.
These guidelines are based on various factors, including the needs of the child, the income of each parent, and agreements related to custody.
Cohabiting couples who decide to go their separate ways can obtain child support court orders to ensure that their children get the financial support they need.
A family law attorney can help you gather and submit the information needed by the courts to establish an appropriate child support amount. They can also help you ensure that an existing court order is enforced under Georgia state law.
Cohabitation and Child Support From a Previous Marriage
A person who was previously married and is still receiving child support needs to consider the impact that cohabiting with a new partner can have.
If you’re cohabiting with a new partner, your former spouse may argue that you no longer need child support if your new partner is contributing to expenses needed for your child.
Your former spouse will have to demonstrate to the courts that your income has increased as a result of your current relationship in order to obtain a new court ruling that reduces or eliminates their obligation to pay child support.
You and your current partner can choose to keep your financial assets separate to protect an existing child support court order. An attorney can help you determine the best legal strategies for you and your family’s needs.
There are laws in the state of Georgia that can protect you and your child when cohabiting with a partner. The better you understand those laws while working with a skilled legal professional, the more peace of mind you can have now and in the future.