The recent, historic decision by the United States Supreme Court in June allows same sex couples to marry throughout the United States. Same sex married couples can now enjoy all the same benefits of marriage that opposite sex couples do. This includes filing joint tax returns and legally being considered next-of-kin in every state without exception.
Benefits for Couples
One of the other benefits is that same sex married couples are now considered to have joint financial lives. This means that, should it become necessary to file for bankruptcy, it is possible for same sex couples to file jointly. This can often reduce the cost of filing for bankruptcy. It also discharges all debts for both partners.
It is also much more efficient for couples to file jointly. Their debts and assets are considered as one whole, rather than two problems to be resolved separately. Filing jointly also eliminates all the more complex issues of an unmarried couple filing for bankruptcy, including issues of joint debt and jointly owned property that can be quite difficult to understand and resolve.
Moreover, married couples in Hawaii are allowed to double some exemption amounts that apply to any of the properties either of the partners own. This means that a married couple is able to claim, and keep, much more of their property.
Couples, same sex or not, that do not file separately, often have a much more complex and difficult case before them when they file for bankruptcy.
There are a variety of issues that arise when one partner decides to file for bankruptcy, or partners file separately.
An important issue is the handling of debts owed by both partners. If one partner discharges a debt in bankruptcy that does not mean the other partner does not still owe that debt. Your bankruptcy only discharges your liability. There are ways of protecting your partner, but they are complicated and expensive.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in regard to same sex marriage is historic and allowed many couples to get married. In addition to all the other advantages, it provided for same sex couples and offers practical, financial benefits that can help them moving forward.