Same sex marriage
In 2012 Maryland enacted legislation and the electorate supported the legalization of same sex marriage. In 2013 the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which had restricted marriage to one man and one woman. After the Supreme Court action, federal workers who are married to same sex spouses can provide federal benefits for their non-federal worker spouses. Among these benefits are health insurance and pension rights.
The impact for same sex couples in Maryland is immeasurable. Many Marylanders, especially in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties are federal employees. With the change in Maryland’s law on same sex marriage these federal employees no longer need to worry about being able to provide benefits for their spouses.
There are other benefits that same sex couples who marry will now enjoy. Purchase of a home as a married couple affords additional rights under long standing Maryland law. A child born to a married woman is now by law the child of her spouse, whether her spouse is a man or a woman. Married same sex couples can file joint Maryland income tax returns.
Same sex couples may choose to enter into a prenuptial agreement for the same reasons an opposite sex couple may choose to. Because same sex marriage is not permitted in all states, though, and many states will not recognize same sex marriages performed in Maryland, and there is always the possibility that couples married in Maryland may move to one of these states, prenuptial agreements must be drafted with care. Your Rockville and Gaithersburg family law attorney will be able to draft a prenuptial agreement for you that will protect your rights in the event you and your spouse move to another state.
Because same sex marriage in Maryland is so new, it is unclear how the courts will handle same sex divorce. It is hoped that the courts will apply the same laws applied to opposite sex couples wishing to terminate their marriage.