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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Same-sex couples can now divorce just like everyone else

In 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was created and enacted on the federal level. Under this law, among other things, marriage was defined as between a man and a woman. Readers in Frisco may or may not have heard that the United States Supreme Court recently repealed DOMA. Many have rejoiced at the rights that will now be afforded to same-sex couples, which had been reserved only for opposite-sex couples. For same-sex couples in states that do not recognize gay marriage, however, there will not be much change, particularly when it comes to divorce.

In states that recognize same-sex marriages, divorce legal issues just got slightly less complicated. With the repeal of DOMA, couples will reportedly now be granted the same leniencies and benefits that man woman couples receive under federal law. According to reports, same-sex couples that have divorced, or are divorcing will now reportedly be able to claim alimony payments on federal income taxes, as well as divide assets without being subjected to gift or inheritance taxes from the state.

Since same-sex marriage is not legal in Texas, couples who divorce will not be allowed the benefits from the striking down of DOMA. Unlike before where there were few paths for legally dissolving a same-sex marriage, now there are options. Some states have residency or other requirements, but, after meeting them, a person may file for divorce and be able to take advantage of the recent changes to the federal laws.

Anyone who is considering divorce, or whose spouse has decided to file, may want to consider obtaining legal representation. An experienced attorney can help guide you through the process and look out for your interests. In addition, legal counsel is available to answer questions or address any concerns you may have.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Supreme Court simplifies gay divorce”, Quentin Fottrell, June 26, 2013