The quickly changing landscape of marriage across the United States may leave some people with questions. Those Colorado same-sex couples who choose to get married may be thinking of how they can now enjoy the many financial benefits of a legal union. What they may be less focused on is that they also have the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts if the marriage ends in divorce.
Before same-sex marriage was legal, couples who were in a committed relationship had no way to secure any property or finances that they may have otherwise been entitled to had their union been recognized by the government. Thanks to initiatives at both the state and federal levels, same-sex partners who decide to divorce after legally being married have the same rights as anyone else during divorce proceedings in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriages. Attempting to divide property before these laws were changed often resulted in significant financial losses for one or both people in the couple.
Among the many benefits, transfers of property are no longer subject to taxation. If one person is paying spousal support to the other, it is now tax-deductible. Retirement funds may now be divided accordingly -- including IRAs. Also, same-sex couples are now able to file pre- and postnuptial agreements to determine ahead of time exactly how funds will be allocated in a divorce.
Those who decide to divorce will have many factors to consider such as alimony, property division and child support, if applicable. It may be comforting for same-sex couples in Colorado to know that they are entitled to exactly the same economic advantages that other divorcing spouses can utilize. Ultimately, communication is key during any divorce proceedings to ensure that all parties have their wishes honored and that everyone can move forward to a brighter future.
Source: consumerreports.org, "Financial Benefits of Same Sex Marriage Include Divorce", Tobie Stanger, June 5, 2014