Los Angeles bankruptcy lawyers know that for same-sex couples‚ life is fraught with challenges‚ ranging from social acceptance to how you file your taxes.
For a lot of these couples‚ a Los Angeles bankruptcy can help to alleviate some of the stressors that accompany the specific financial challenges that come with a same-sex partnership.
While same-sex marriage has been legal in California since 2008‚ there are still a number of issues these couples must contend with.
To explore a few of these:
- Same sex couples are often barred from sharing in the basic benefits that married couples enjoy. In an example detailed by CNNMoney‚ a 76-year-old man from Hayward talked about how when his partner of more than 50 years died‚ he lost not only his husband and best friend. He lost his home‚ his income‚ his health insurance‚ his animals and even his furniture. He was dropped from his husband’s employer’s insurance and was blocked from receiving the $2‚000 a month he had previously received from his husband’s Social Security benefits. He also was denied getting any survivor benefits‚ and then it took another three years before he was able to gain access to his husband’s pension plan benefits.
- Same sex couples have a much tougher time in establishing parental rights. Some couples can end up spending $3‚000 or more in legal fees just to outline the basics of a parenting agreement of how to proceed if the couple should separate or one of them die. These are aspects that would be already in place if they were allowed to legally marry and adopt together.
- Disability benefits are often unavailable to same-sex partners‚ meaning that when they fall ill‚ they must shoulder a greater burden their heterosexual counterparts.
- Tax filing can be confusing‚ arduous and downright unfair. A ruling by the IRS in 2010 mandated that homosexual couples in community property states like California had to divvy up their income equally on their federal tax returns. Because same-sex couples still can’t file jointly‚ this has helped some‚ but it’s confused the process for others. CNNMoney detailed the plight of one couple‚ in which one owned a business in which the other was not involved. The new rule‚ however‚ required the spouse to claim half of his husband’s income on his own tax return. That‚ in turn‚ meant the non-business owner spouse no longer qualified for early retirement‚ as he had previously done. What’s more‚ he was ordered to pay back some $10‚000 in benefits‚ which he’d already collected. A tax lawyer helped the pair sort out the mess and appeal that decision – but it wasn’t cheap.
According to a decision made by 20 California bankruptcy judges last year‚ same-sex couples can file jointly for bankruptcy‚ despite the Defense of Marriage Act.
Consulting with a Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney about your options is the first step to a fresh start.
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy‚ contact Los Angeles bankruptcy lawyers at Cal West Law to schedule your free consultation. Call (800) 568-0707.
Same-sex couples: We just want equal benefits‚ By Blake Ellis‚ CNNMoney