Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Progress gives more equality to same-sex spouses

Massachusetts people who are part of the LGBT community have long been allowed to marry and divorce same-sex spouses. They are treated in the same manner as heterosexual couples when property is divided and in matters related to child custody. Now, even federal laws are slowly but surely being used to accommodate same-sex spouses. In fact, since the fall of the Defense of Marriage Act, as many as 1,138 protections and laws now apply to non-traditional couples.

Although the dynamics and concerns of each couple are unique, the laws that can provide financial protection affect all. Financial and tax planning are now possible, and LGBT couples can save significantly by filing their taxes jointly. Married same-sex couples are now openly accepted in the military, and they can enjoy family lives without the threat of dishonorable discharge. One spouse now has access to the military benefits of the other spouse, regardless of whether he or she is currently serving or a veteran.

Same-sex couples who are in state-administered marriages can now enjoy the privileges and advantages of federal programs at the same level that is afforded to heterosexual couples. LGBT partners now have access to their spouses' Medicare and Social Security benefits without the restrictions that were common before the fall of DOMA. This provides LGBT people with the right to tax advantages enjoyed by all others who contribute to the system.

Same-sex spouses in Massachusetts may also now feel more secure as they grow older, knowing that they will have access to partner benefits when they need assistance. LGBT couples may have many unanswered questions because there are still many areas that have not been addressed. Fortunately, there are experienced attorneys who focus on protecting the rights of couples in the LGBT community, and utilizing the guidance and advice of such a professional may be invaluable.

Source: lifehealthpro.com, "LGBT and modern families: What advisors need to know", Holly Hanson, June 9, 2015

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