The District of Columbia and the State of Maryland belong to an important minority: the United States jurisdictions that recognize the rights of same-sex couples to marry. But once the excitement of the first few licenses granted and marriages performed slows down, serious questions remain about the legal protection – or lack of protection – afforded newlywed same-sex couples.
Couples who carefully plan their weddings down to the smallest detail should remember to plan their married life with similar attention.
United States federal law does yet not formally recognize same-sex marriage. Basic spousal rights, including civil service retirement and death benefits, may not automatically flow from the right to marry. If the couple marries in the District of Columbia or in the State of Maryland, but lives in Virginia, or most other states, the union will not be given the same recognition as would a "traditional marriage".
How do same-sex couples protect themselves, each other, their families, and their children? How does a couple assure that each will be able to shelter the other from creditors, visit the sickbed of the other, inherit property from the survivor, and/or share custody of any children brought into the family? In the event of divorce – and divorce will surely follow some of the marriages – how can each spouse be protected with respect to property, support, and child custody?
Most, if not all, of these and other important issues can be addressed using a variety of legal tools presently available. Just as planning a wedding takes time and effort, planning for married life ought to be done carefully, using the services of a qualified professional. Call our offices today to secure your newlywed tomorrows, and beyond.