What Does the Demise of DOMA Mean for Same Sex Divorce?
Pasadena divorce lawyers, like much of America, followed the recent Supreme Court decision regarding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) with great interest. Striking down DOMA was seen as a giant step forward for the rights of same sex couples -- both in marriage and divorce.
DOMA was a 1996 law blocking federal recognition of same sex marriages. Striking down the law means that same sex married couples are allowed to claim all of the federal benefits that come with marriage. This includes tax free employee health insurance, head of household income tax deductions, and Social Security survivor's benefits upon the death of a spouse.
As far as same sex divorce is concerned, the wealthier spouse will now be allowed to claim alimony payments as a tax deduction. Divorcing couples will also no longer need to pay gift taxes when dividing assets. Both of these changes can potentially have major financial consequences for middle and upper income same sex couples seeking to end their marriage.
Child custody, however, remains complicated for the majority of same sex couples. Unless a couple has jointly adopted the child, the non-biological parent might not qualify for automatic visitation rights and could have to apply for custody if the biological parent was considered unfit due to concerns such as mental illness or drug addiction. Custody battles, which can be quite costly, are still a major concern for a divorcing same sex couple who has children together.
Because the laws regarding same sex divorce are still complicated, it's important to seek an attorney who has the skills and experience necessary to efficiently handle your case. The do-it-yourself approach is not recommended for a same sex divorce, especially when there are children and/or significant assets involved.
How Can We Help?
If you are in need of legal assistance during your divorce, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com. Our Pasadena family law firm is eager to provide the help you need to quickly obtain a fair settlement.