Minnesota Same-Sex Marriage and Minnesota Family Law

Doves Marriage is gender neutral in Minnesota as of August 1, 2013.  There is little doubt that Minnesota Statutes applicable to family law matters  will impact same-sex marriages.

There are primary issues in any divorce that include:  division of martial assets and debts; spousal maintenance; custody and parenting time issues; and, child support.

Assets accumulated before marriage are non-marital.  Assets accumulated after marriage are marital.  An issue yet to be resolved is when does property become marital in Minnesota  if a couple was married in another same-sex marriage state?

Debt is also in play.  For example, if a married couple files joint taxes, then both are responsible for the tax liability.   Generally, if debt is incurred during the marriage, then both spouses are equally responsible for the debt with a few exceptions.

If a child is born in a same-sex marriage then the issue becomes: is the non-child bearing spouse a natural parent entitled to all rights of parenting and is that parent obligated to pay child support?  These are legal questions that must be addressed. Most likely, the non-child bearing spouse will adopt as a step-parent. Only a biological parent may sign a Recognition of Parentage.   Every parent whether adoptive or biological is responsible for the support of his/her child.  Couples will have to address the issues of child support, healthcare insurance, dependency exemptions, and  shared costs of  uninsured healthcare expenses.

Benefits are always balanced by responsibilities.  Same-sex marriage is no different from opposite-sex marriage when it comes to benefits and responsibilities.

Cohabitation agreements that are now in place between same-sex couples may be re-drafted as pre-nuptial agreements. Pre-nuptial agreements operate to identify and preserve  non-marital assets. Pre-nuptials may limit liability for one another’s pre-marital debt. Pre-nuptial agreements may also limit or eliminate an obligation to pay spousal maintenance.

Minnesota predicts that  5500 same-sex couples will marry this next year.  These couples will have to consider how family law, asset accumulation, debt responsibility, and estate planning impacts their families.

Don’t be discouraged!  The application of Minnesota family law is just another aspect of the civil right to marry whomever you wish to marry.

Kate Willmore, Saint Cloud, Minnesota Family Lawyer and Mediator


Copyright 2013

About Kate Willmore, Esq.

Kate Willmore, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, divorce, custody and family attorney brings over 25 years experience to every client's legal matter. *** Licensed in Minnesota and in California

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