Helping Clients Navigate A Course To A Better Future

How long were you together before getting married?

Same-sex couples in 2020 have a potentially unique situation. While same-sex marriage was legal in some parts of the country, the blanket changes to the law that made it legal everywhere did not happen until 2015. They can now get married just like opposite-sex couples, but what might getting that right to wed so late mean for a potential divorce, should one happen?

Well, essentially, it could mean is that a couple was together for years before tying the knot and gaining the same legal rights afforded other married couples. For instance, one same-sex couple — both of whom fell into a high-income bracket on their own, let alone as a couple — spent half a dozen years in a very committed relationship before they were even allowed to marry.

Unlike opposite-sex couples who cohabited before tying the knot but still considered themselves unmarried, same-sex couples may have considered themselves married long before their official wedding date, regardless of what the law permitted.

That could mean they bought assets together, commingled their financial assets, invested in a home or even made plans to start a family, all without being legally married. If they then get married and then, later on, get divorced, when do the assets start to legally belong to both of them? That date is very obvious for couples that could get married whenever they wanted, but less obvious for couples that previously had their rights restricted by the law.

When things get complex, these couples must know about all of the legal options at their disposal.