DOMA Complicates Gay Divorces

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February 17, 2012

We all know that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) means multiple obstacles for same-sex couples who want to tie the knot. But what happens when couples break up? More DOMA roadblocks.

Charles M. Spiegel, an attorney and a member of Lambda Legal’s National Leadership Council, tells the Bay Area Reporter:

Given that DOMA denies same-gender couples the options straight people have to organize our finances when divorcing, it provides even more incentive for same-gender couples to work cooperatively in our divorces. Minimize the money we send to Uncle Sam and have more to divide within the couple and provide for our families' support… To me the take-away from this is this is why same-gender couples have to work harder and more cooperatively together because of the potential for these kinds of mistakes.

Legal Director Jon W. Davidson adds:

You may not be getting certain federal tax treatment because of DOMA. That may affect a number of things for the couple that California law really can't do anything about. I think most people are not going to fully understand how they deal with it. It is more complicated.

Former Marriage Project Director Jennifer C. Pizer also weighs in. You can read the whole thing here.