Same Sex Divorce
For both same sex and opposite sex married couples in the state of Massachusetts, divorce can be emotional, frustrating, and overwhelming. Massachusetts recognizes all marriages the same (regardless of genders involved), meaning that divorce of same sex couples is often legally synonymous with divorce for opposite sex couples. However, because the laws surrounding the rights of homosexual couples are constantly evolving, a same sex couple may be faced with a few more complications than opposite sex couples when getting divorced. To help understand your rights and options during a marital separation, divorce attorney Michael F. Mimno can help.
Alimony and Division of Property for Same Sex Divorce in Massachusetts
Alimony, also called spousal support, is a court-ordered sum of money that is paid to one spouse by the other spouse in the event of divorce. Division of property in the event of a divorce follows equitable distribution laws, meaning that property must be divided equitably under the law, but not necessarily equally.
A judge, through the consideration of a number of factors, determines both alimony amounts and how property is divided in a divorce. One thing that is often considered by a judge is the length of a marriage. A short-term marriage, or one that has lasted for less than seven years, often results in smaller alimony payments. However, because laws limiting gay marriage were in place, a same sex couple may have lived together for much longer than seven years, despite being unable to legally marry. As such, the determination of alimony and division of property can much more complicated for a homosexual couple than that of a heterosexual couple.
Federal Laws and Benefits Affecting Same Sex Divorce
Prior to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) being overturned by the Supreme Court, same sex marriage was not recognized by the federal government. As such, same sex married couples in Massachusetts may have been faced with obstacles regarding federal pension plans and tax benefits. During a divorce, a homosexual married couple may have questions about how their federal pension plans and tax benefits, health benefits, and more will be affected. If changes to plans weren’t made following the Supreme Court’s decision, then a same sex couple seeking divorce may have questions about what assets and benefits they’re entitled to.
Why You Need an Attorney for Same Sex Divorce in Massachusetts
Anytime a couple is seeking a divorce, the legal advice and know-how of an attorney can be beneficial, especially when it comes to dividing assets or agreeing to an alimony amount. For same sex couples, though, a divorce attorney is even more of a necessity.
If you are a spouse ina same sex marriage seeking divorce in Massachusetts, attorney Michael F. Mimno will provide you with the legal support you need for understanding your rights. Our legal team will guide you through Massachusetts divorce laws, and help you get a fair property division and alimony amount. Call us now at 978-470-4560.