Domestic Diversions

When same-sex couples divorce

The Washington Post describes how divorces of same-sex marriages challenge the legal framework for divorce, including issues related to jurisdiction and venue, child custody, parenting time, alimony (spousal support), property division, retirement and taxation.

Dafna Linzer writes (excerpt):
. . . Heterosexual couples claim a tax deduction for alimony payments, but that benefit is not available to gay and lesbian spouses because the Internal Revenue Service does not recognize their marriages.
Retirement savings and pension plans, easily split for heterosexual couples divorcing, would have to be cashed out and would be heavily taxed for gay couples. Current tax law allows only $12,000 to be transferred from one gay spouse to another without being subject to a gift tax.
Andrew Koppelman, a law professor at Northwestern University, published a book in 2006, “Same Sex, Different States: When Same-Sex Marriages Cross State Lines.” Koppelman urged states that oppose same-sex marriage to agree at least to perform divorces. “You have to have a way for people to get out of these things — otherwise, you have multiple claims on the same property and no protections for people entering into new marriages. I think states that try to adopt these rules refusing to recognize the marriages just haven’t thought it through.”

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