same-sex marriage

Financial prep when a gay marriage turns into a divorce

When a same-sex couple in Massachusetts encounters marital difficulties, the process of ending a marriage is no different than that for a heterosexual couple. There are a number of measures that spouses should take if they believe that their union is on the rocks, no matter what their gender. With proper planning, an individual can greatly offset many of the negative ramifications of divorce, leaving them better-equipped to move forward in their single life. One basic preparation strategy involves keeping good records. This includes collecting and copying all tax returns and credit card statements, as well as income documentation for both spouses. Having good records can make it easier to approach a court for spousal support or child support. Another savvy means of preparing for the worst involves setting aside some savings to weather the period between filing for divorce and coming to terms on a final settlement. Having enough cash on hand to cover basic living expenses is important, and can make a huge difference in one’s stress level as the process moves forward. In addition, it may also be a good idea to pay down existing debt before filing for divorce. When it seems likely that divorce is on the horizon, gay spouses in Massachusetts should ensure that they are as prepared as possible for the coming months. The steps suggested here are not solely beneficial to the divorce process, but are also good tips that any couple can take advantage of. If the marriage stabilizes, having done

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Why divorce for Boston’s same-sex couples is both more and less complicated

Massachusetts is one of the few states in the U.S. that allows same-sex marriage. Regardless of how you feel about that, it is true that allowing same-sex couples to marry can greatly simplify some legal aspects of their lives together. One of those aspects is the end of the relationship, be that by divorce or the death of one of the partners. Take the case of two men from Minnesota. Although the partners of 25 years were married in San Francisco, Minnesota did not recognize their union. So when one of the men died unexpectedly at 46 without a will, the state’s default estate plan meant that his partner did not have legal standing the same way a wife would and thus did not automatically inherit anything. The surviving partner is now locked in a prolonged and complicated court battle in an attempt to recover what he believes should be his. Although such a scenario would not play out in Massachusetts, that doesn’t mean we have all legal elements relating to same-sex marriage smoothed out completely. If a same-sex couple wants to get a divorce, it can be trickier than a divorce for a heterosexual couple for several reasons. For example, because gay men and women were not allowed to marry in our state for so long, many couples have been unmarried partners for a long time, which makes their marriages look artificially short. That has implications for things like property division and spousal support. Finding an attorney who understands

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Judge allows same-sex couple to divorce

While more states have legalized same-sex marriages, gay couples whose marriages have fallen on hard times continue to find it difficult to legally divorce their spouse. The problem is that some states feel by permitting a same-sex divorce, they are by default acknowledging same-sex marriage. For example, two women who were married in Massachusetts later moved to Texas, a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage. When the women began divorce proceedings in February 2011, Texas’ general attorney, attempted to stop the judge from allowing their dissolution. His motion stated that because Texas has a constitutional ban on gay marriage, the judge did not have the authority to grant a divorce. The motion was later thrown out by the judge because it was not filed in a timely manner. In a more recent case, two men who were married in New York on September 2011, filed for divorce in Ohio. Ohio, like Texas, does not recognize same-sex marriages and civil unions per a 2004 constitutional amendment. A Columbus judge signed off on the couple’s divorce. Again, the judge hearing the men’s case was met with an onslaught of criticism — called “rogue” by one man in an email to the Columbus Dispatch, a local newspaper. The attorney for one of the men in the case defended the judge’s decision to hear and approve the divorce; stating that Ohio’s constitutional amendment applies only to same-sex marriage and says nothing about same-sex divorce. Ultimately, the real hurdle lies in the fact that

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Boston residents learn of one lawmaker’s view on civil unions

With this year’s elections hot on the horizon, many politicians are working the circuit to plug their parties’ political agenda and push new legislation and/or alter existing laws. One of the focus areas for many lawmakers has been the topic of same-sex marriage and divorce. While more states are passing laws to allow same-sex marriage or civil unions, it still remains a heated topic for many states throughout the nation. In New Hampshire, one state lawmaker has his own vision for how to get rid of the 2010 gay marriage law. He has sponsored a new bill that would give voters the opportunity to cast their vote on a nonbinding ballot question. The issue at hand for voters to decide, if his bill passes, is whether New Hampshire should give new life to a 2007 law on civil unions. State Representative David Bates (Rep.) proposes the repeal of the gay marriage law on March 31, 2013, and its replacement by civil unions. These were defined in the law by a 2007 bill. Also, Bates wants to leave it up to NH voters if homosexuals could legally obtain a civil union, but the gay marriage law would cease to exist. In fact, if this amendment went through, the existing definition of marriage would be worded to be “between one man and one woman.” Bates calls the state’s current definition of marriage an “illegitimate definition.” Those against the change feel that the proposal is discriminatory and posed to take away the rights

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Boston residents watch other states’ same-sex marriage trends

A news story on the minds of Boston residents this week is the newest win for gay rights activists in the neighboring state of New Jersey. In fact, the upcoming decisions made in these other states matters when gay couples move from one state to another in the U.S. This is particularly important as more states recognize same-sex divorce along with marriage rights. Right now, six states, including Massachusetts, recognize same-sex marriages. This New Jersey development comes as more states grapple with what legal rights to award non-traditional couples. According to a Reuters’ report, the legislature in New Jersey legalized same-sex marriage earlier this week. Next, the New Jersey gay marriage bill goes to the governor, a person who could be considered for a vice-presidential bid later this year. Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, has promised to use his governor’s veto on this bill. This may be a setback for gay rights in New Jersey. The vote was passed in a majority of 42 to 33. However, Boston readers should note that the two chambers of the state assembly do not have the two-thirds majority of votes that would be required to override a gubernatorial veto. In related news, Maryland’s House of Delegates postponed until late Feb. 16 a debate on the “Civil Marriage Protection Act,” which has the sponsorship of the liberal governor, Democrat Martin O’Malley. This bill already passed with enough votes in two committees, but not the entire House. Gay rights activists are also watching the progress

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State’s marriage equality follows Massachusetts’ example

Residents of the state of Massachusetts might be surprised that, when the Washington state legislature last considered the issue of gay marriage, its response was to ban the institution. That ban has not stopped issues related to gay rights from resurfacing in the state. More than a decade later, the state lawmaking body is considering this issue again. This news comes after other recent legislative efforts in the last few years that have granted more rights under the law to gay and lesbian partners. If gay marriage legislation passes this year, the state of Washington would become the seventh state, in addition to Washington, D.C., to make same-sex marriage into a legal institution. People who are following this issue nationwide should know that these bills are being advanced by gay lawmakers, intent on making legal strides for citizens of Washington. Before gay and lesbian couples will be able to celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage in Washington, these bills must go through the legislative process. First, these bills will be heard in a public hearing in their respective House and Senate committees. The spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, Michael Cole-Schwartz, gave this remark: “If there’s one word to sum up where Washington is on marriage equality, its momentum.” Washington could follow the example of Massachusetts, which has already legalized gay marriage. Other states that have legalized this right for same-sex couples are: Connecticut, Iowa, New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont. More information about same-sex couples’ rights, including how to

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