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Gay marriage has been in the spotlight over the past several years, especially as the opportunities for more couples have expanded across states around the country. Many people in various industries and of numerous types of backgrounds have weighed in on the impacts of gay marriage, and one of the interesting facets of higher numbers of gay marriages is whether and how divorce will play a role.
Some attorneys believe that the ruling regarding the Defense of Marriage Act will make the divorce process easier for same-sex couples, allowing the process to be more equitable for parties involved. As more states authorize gay marriage, it’s expected that divorces will also increase, although it’s not certain to what extent.
When it comes to the Defense of Marriage Act, also known as DOMA, there will likely be several impacts coming down to the couples getting married. Couples with any kind of large assets will probably be transferring at least some of those assets upon divorce. This might reflect traditional divisions for other couples, in that one party is likely to receive the house, financial assets will be split based on the law in that state, and retirement accounts will be split between the two parties. Under DOMA, the marital dissolution tax exemption prevented same-sex couples from gaining access to this possible benefit, resulting in taxable transfers of assets. Alimony was also taxable, hiking up the expenses for a divorce case overall.
The exact implications are still not completely determined, since as of right now the tax exemptions are only for “recognition states”, also known as those states that legally recognize the same sex marriage. Tax rules tend to defer to state laws when it comes to exemption entitlements, so many couples might not have access to these benefits as of yet. If you have more questions about your divorce, or you’d like to talk through your options with an attorney, contact a lawyer today.