Making Unknowns Known In Same-Sex Divorce With DOMA Gone

Quentin Fottrell for the Wall Street Journal writes that the U.S. Supreme Court, having struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law that denied benefits to same-sex spouses, has also made it “less complicated” for same-sex couples going through divorce.

Fottrell quotes one family law attorney (and it really boils down to the message communicated in this quote): “Same-sex couples seeking divorce will no longer have to avoid court because they are afraid of the unknown.”

Here, specifically, is where the unknowns became known, at least when it came to DOMA:


  • No state gift or inheritance taxes after dividing assets as part of divorce
  • Tax deductions allowed for alimony (spousal support) payments, just like opposite-sex divorced couples


So there’s that.

But while the recent Supreme Court ruling went pretty far, it could have gone farther, claim some commentators, by ruling that same-sex marriage was legal across the country. It could have, possibly, but the Supreme Court chose to leave it to the individual states to decide (as Maryland voters did in last year’s election, upholding the Civil Marriage Protection Act).

Source: Supreme Court simplifies gay divorce