Although the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declared in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, 440 Mass. 309 (2003) that same-sex married couples are entitled to equal protection of the laws under the Massachusetts Constitution, failure of the federal government and individual states to recognize gay marriage results in complications for divorcing same-sex spouses. As a family law attorney familiar with issues facing same-sex couples, I will propose solutions to remedy these inequalities to the greatest extent possible.
Because the federal government views same-sex spouses as unrelated, property division incident to divorce is potentially much more costly. Some assets may be unavailable or prohibitively expensive to transfer. Any asset regulated by federal law will be unavailable for assignment to a same-sex spouse, including retirement plans governed by ERISA. There may be additional federal tax burdens as well, as same-sex spouses will not be eligible for tax-free transfers of property incident to divorce.
Alimony may provide a more workable solution for divorcing same-sex spouses. The court considers many factors to determine alimony, which allows me to make every argument possible on your behalf. Due to the complications facing same-sex couples and the lack of precedent in this area, the judge in your case may be able to consider the merit of arguments in your case without relying on decisions in prior cases. This is an excellent opportunity for your attorney to present every circumstance supporting your position.
A major concern for same-sex spouses anticipating divorce is preserving parental rights. You have options for strengthening your status in your children’s lives, even if you have neither biological nor legal parent status. Based on the circumstances of your situation, we will discuss the best strategy to allow you to maintain your relationship with your children.
To discuss how I can help you achieve your goals in spite of discriminatory treatment of same-sex marriage by jurisdictions outside Massachusetts, call (978) 704-9223 or email Lance Law LLC to schedule a free consultation.