July 13, 2015

What Marriage Equality Means for Same-Sex Couples

Illinois family law attorney, Marriage, New Illinois Law, Same Sex Marriage

In late June, the Supreme Court announced a historic ruling that effectively standardized marriage laws nationwide. Same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states, and will now be considered in the same ways as straight marriage—with all its ups and downs and confusing or complicating factors. As such, one can assume that the same types of industries that have been built around straight marriage will quickly follow this announcement. So what does the legalization of same-sex marriage at the federal level really mean for same-sex couples?

One major victory of the Supreme Court ruling ensures that gay couples will be able to move across state lines without worrying that their marital status will change. It also ensures that all couples can collect a spousal benefit when it comes to Social Security or other federal entitlement programs. According to CNBC, if a same-sex couple filed an application for spousal benefits two years ago—when the Supreme Court overturned some aspects of the Defense of Marriage Act—they may be able to collect the benefit retroactively.

The same goes for estate taxes, and in medical situations where only a spouse can make decisions for their loved ones, if, for example, the couple had to travel out-of-state for the best medical care. Of course, same-sex couples will now also have to deal with the downsides of marriage, such as the so-called “marriage penalty” related to filing a joint tax return.

One major change regarding family law with the new Supreme Court ruling could be the increase in adoption opportunities for same-sex couples. At the heart of the federal debate were the stories of 210,000 American children being raised by same-sex parents and reports form the American Psychological Association and the American Academy for Pediatrics that children in same-sex parent households fare just as well as their different-sex parent peers, according to the Washington Post.

If you or someone you know has questions about same-sex marriage, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced Glen Ellyn, IL family law attorneytoday.