It is no surprise to the people of Marietta that Georgia does not allow for same-sex marriage. That does not mean, however, that there are not many Georgia couples who have traveled outside of the state or the country in order to get married. For those same-sex couples who were wed in states allowing for same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this week was a momentous day in which the federal government recognized their marriages. What this also does is to simplify a complex divorce process among same-sex couples.
Although same-sex couples in Georgia are far less likely to get divorced than opposite-sex couples, there are still some that do. With the end of the Defense of Marriage Act, this also means that the divorces will be slightly less complicated. For example, if a wealthier spouse is ordered to pay alimony to his or her former husband or wife, that alimony check can be deducted on the wealthier spouse’s taxes.
A much bigger change, however, is that division of property will no longer fall under the gift tax. Prior to this recent Supreme Court decision, when divorcing couples were dividing their property, it was treated completely differently than if they had been an opposite-sex divorcing couple. Because the property would have been recognized as marital property, there would be no gift tax because both parties owned the property. For same-sex couples, however, the property was seen as, at best, shared property between roommates, so any division would be considered giving a taxable gift.
There are still many challenges that divorcing same-sex couples will want to discuss with their family law attorneys, but at least the divorce process is slightly less complex.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Supreme Court simplifies gay divorce,” Quentin Fottrell, June 26, 2013