Market Overview

3 Unsettled Financial Planning Issues For Same-Sex Marriages

3 Unsettled Financial Planning Issues For Same-Sex Marriages

The Supreme Court’s historic 2015 ruling to legalize same-sex marriage has resulted in a predictable spike in the number of same-sex couples choosing to tie the knot. According to Reuters, the rate of marriage within the LGBTQ community has more than tripled from 8 percent in 2012 to 26 percent in 2016.

While marriage can certainly be an important symbolic emotional commitment, it represents much more to the LGBTQ community, including important legal status.

Now that same-sex marriage is legal, spouses can legally make healthcare decisions for each other and they have rights to inheritance, spousal Social Security benefits and each other’s insurance and healthcare coverage.

Related Link: Same-Sex Couples Still Learning The Financial Ropes Of Marriage

While so much legal progress has been made in the past year when it comes to same-sex marriage, there are still plenty of issues that require clarity.

Remaining Concerns

First, there is very little legal guidance in place when it comes to children and same-sex couples. There is no federal law addressing the rights of same-sex couples to adopt children or become foster parents, and the law is unclear about spousal rights when it comes to custody in the event of a divorce.

Second, there is very little clarity when it comes to retroactive legal rights. As of the Supreme Court decision, same-sex couples are granted the legal spousal right to inheritance, for example. But what if a partner died prior to the ruling? Do same-sex couples get a right to retroactive tax benefits?

Finally, many companies offered domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples prior to the legalization of gay marriage. Will same-sex couples who choose not to get married still have access to these benefits? Will those benefits disappear entirely?

The Supreme Court ruling was a landmark decision for LGBTQ rights. But now that the celebration is over, there are still many important legal precedents to be set, and the process will likely continue to play out in courtrooms across the country for years to come.

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Disclosure: The author holds no position in the stocks mentioned.


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