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Same-sex couples: Preparing for the unknown

Now that marriage is no longer banned for same-sex couples in Michigan, some couples who have been married in other states are finally having those ceremonies legally recognized. Other long-established couples may be taking advantage of that right for the first time. Along with the right to marry comes the right to divorce, but the length of the relationship for these couples may be in sharp contrast to the length of the state-recognized marriage. Time magazine points out that many questions may soon arise about how divorce and family courts will weigh issues that typically contribute to alimony and property division for these same-sex couples.

Marital property includes assets and liabilities that have been acquired or contributed to during the marriage. The inability to marry at a timely point in the relationship may affect what assets would be considered marital property in a divorce between two same-sex partners. Identifying what should be divided and listing these in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may be a way of sidestepping litigation in the event that the marriage is dissolved.

A couple who has only recently been granted the right to a legal marriage may be hesitant to discuss this potentially emotionally charged topic. But, according to Today, proactively discussing assets and how they would be divided in a divorce may actually relieve some of the friction over money that is often part of a relationship. This may be particularly true if spouses are considering whether it is a good idea for one parent to step out of the workforce and stay home with the children. In fact, the ability to discuss the finances openly and honestly often has the potential to strengthen the relationship rather than pointing to its end.

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic

"I will hold you up until you can stand on your own two feet."

Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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