The Supreme Court has ruled that all couples have the right to wed in the United States. The United States becomes the 21st country to legalize same-sex marriages nationwide. This landmark decision provides married same sex couples with the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as opposite sex (traditional) married couples. The following are just a few examples of what all spouses are entitled to:
- Social Security from a deceased spouse
- Health insurance coverage
- Military benefits
- Filing of a joint tax return
- Estate tax and estate planning benefits
- Step-parent rights for adoption
- Acknowledgment of marriage in other states
- Divorce and terminate their legal relationship
While this is a great step in moving forward, there are several hurdles to overcome. Not all county clerk offices are willing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In fact a county clerk in Kentucky has proposed a state law allowing people to purchase marriage licenses on-line so he does not have to personally issue the license. It would be treated similarly to purchasing a hunting or fishing license.
Same sex couples may face termination of employment and refusal of housing based upon sexual orientation and other discriminatory practices as to their new relationship until this new law becomes embedded into society. The debate of the legitimacy of same sex marriages versus beliefs of traditional religious doctrines to the contrary will be an on-going dialogue in the public forum for many years to come.
Same-sex couples previously had to prepare for emergencies as if they were not married. Family and estate planning was essential in ensuring their wishes to be carried out. Now that they have the same protections, it is important to review all family and estate planning documents.
Each couples’ situation varies and consulting an experienced family law and/or an estate planning and asset protection attorney is a great place to start. Ronald A. Luzim first learns and understands the unique needs of each client and then offers personal service appropriate to each case. He is a former estate and tax attorney with the IRS, has been practicing law since 1974 and specializes not only in estate planning and real estate but also is a Coral Springs family lawyer, Coral Springs probate lawyer and Coral Springs bankruptcy lawyer. In addition as a practicing state certified mediator, Ronald brings experience, expertise and empathy to your legal matter. Please contact his Coral Springs office at 954-755-1500 for assistance in protecting yourself, family and property.
There is no substitute for experience.