Same Sex Marriages

Some rights reserved by karmadudeThere has been a lot of talk about same sex marriages in the news. And we know the social reasons why many seek a recognized marriage. But, there are many legal reasons that a couple might want to have their union officially recognized as a marriage. Some of these are things that apply to heterosexual couples as well.

Taxes. First off, same sex couples that get married will have a similar tax filing status as a man and woman who are married. We say “similar,” because there are many specific situations that the IRS website mentions that might be different. This link provides further information. In addition, there are many other types of tax benefits offered to spouses that are not offered to non-spouses.

Social Security Benefits. Same sex married couples will now be eligible for many social security benefits they may have previously been denied.

Military Benefits. The military offers many benefits to veterans and enlisted personnel. These benefits will also become more available to same sex married couples.

Health Insurance. Health insurance is not always available to domestic partners. Having a legal marriage allows more people to be covered under work health plans.

Creditor Protection.  In some States, married couples enjoy a powerful creditor protection tool called “tenancy by the entirety,” which is a form of ownership of property exclusively for married couples that shields marital property from the debts of one spouse.

Next of kin. Long a hot-button topic, a domestic or long-term partner was not always recognized as next of kin. This comes heavily into play with health matters, especially for end of life decisions. Domestic partner registries help with some of these situations. The registries are becoming more common, but they are still not available for all those who desire them and still do not cover all the legal bases. There are many types of legal paperwork that can be created that allow for someone to be the legal designee for health matters, of course, but many become aware of this when it is too late.  

This brief list does not cover all the legal reasons one might enter into a same-sex marriage. It also does not delve into the technicalities and what happens if a same-sex couple moves to a state that does not recognize it. There are many good resources on the web that would help illuminate this issue more.

Attorney Christopher D. Smith is a Lakewood Ranch, Florida attorney with SmithLaw Attorneys. He concentrates in bankruptcy, civil litigation, probate, and elder exploitation cases in the Sarasota and Bradenton area. Call 941-907-4774 to learn more and to ask about our free consultations.

Image: Some rights reserved by karmadude

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