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Same-Sex Marriage Family Law Implications

Alabama was the latest state to permit same sex marriage in the United States. Shortly, every state in the Union will permit same sex marriage. Now, gay couples will have the same rights and responsibilities heterosexual couples have enjoyed.

Same sex couples may now benefit from federal and state income tax deductions, health care benefits, property ownership, work benefits and estate benefits. By legally marriage, same sex couples may also have to face some of the other not so pleasant issues that face heterosexual couples, such as the legalities of a break up, child custody, payment of support and division of property.

Pre-nuptial agreements can be very beneficial to same sex couples entering into marriage to help avoid any type of issue involving division of property or payment of support or alimony in the event of a separation or divorce. Pre-planning of an estate is also a good strategy for a married couple so the surviving spouse is protected.

It is advisable for a same sex couple who wants to marry to meet with an advisor or attorney to discuss a pre-nuptial agreement and any other issues the couple may face prior to the couple being married and to discuss an estate plan soon after the marriage and during the union as circumstances change.


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Pennsylvania grants a no-fault divorce when both spouses agree to divorce and file an affidavit that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The court may grant a divorce 90 days after filing. If one spouse files an affidavit that the couple has lived apart for at least two years and that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court may grant a divorce based on those circumstances.
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