How Does Divorce Work for LGBT Couples?
Understanding LGBT Divorce Procedures
At Miller Law Group, P.C., we understand the laws around LGBT marriages are tricky. Couples have had to and still face challenges such as not being allowed to divorce, alimony wasn’t considered deductible, retirement accounts were incurring tax consequences. We have attorneys who focus on the law and want to help you!
There’s some unique issues that face the LGBT community. When it comes to divorce with gay and lesbian couples, laws changed in 2013. But here’s what couples had to face and, in some cases, still face today. First, in states that didn’t recognize same-sex marriages, couples couldn’t get a divorce. So some moved to Mass. But to obtain a divorce in MA, you need to establish residency, which means you may have to live there for a year before the court’s going to hear your case.
Now, state law and federal law weren’t seeing eye-to-eye. They weren’t on the same page.
For example, alimony wasn’t considered deductible because the federal law early on didn’t see the couple as married because it was a same-sex couple. Retirement accounts that were split at divorce were incurring tax consequences with the gay and lesbian community because the fact that they weren’t able to get a QDRO.
What’s a QDRO?
A qualified domestic relations order where a judge signs it and you’re not taxed when you split the accounts. Spouses can give things to each other, we all know that, but gay and lesbian couples were incurring taxes if the gifts exceeded the limit for gift taxes.
With DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, much of that has changed. However, think about this: Massachusetts is an equitable distribution state. There are 21 factors, give or take, that govern who gets what and one of the factors is the length of the marriage. Since it wasn’t until 2004 that same-sex marriages were legalized, when did the counting start? If couples live together and for all intents and purposes held themselves out as a married couple back to 1990, they’re not getting credit because it’s only 2004 where those marriages were recognized.
There are a lot of issues with states. Some states don’t recognize gay and lesbian divorces; some do. So when you move from one state to another, there are going to be issues. We have Massachusetts same-sex attorneys who focus on the law and, at Miller Law Group, we are always willing to help you with a free consultation. Call us.