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Federal benefits for same-sex marriages may take a step forward

Same-sex couples who are married still face an inordinate amount of legal difficulties in every area of life. If they relocate to a state that by law doesn’t recognize gay marriage, even the simplest acts become a legal battleground. Same-sex couples who seek a divorce in non-recognition states face an uphill battle when it comes to questions of child support, custody and property division and many have been flatly denied the right to split up.

There is some encouraging news, though, on the federal front in regard to same-sex couples. It’s been a year since the DOMA ruling that shot down a ban on gay marriage and now more steps are being taken to ensure equality. Some of the recent measures will require Congress to act, but some are deemed legally possible right now.

For example, if a couple marries in a state that does recognize same-sex marriage and subsequently moves to one that does not, the Social Security Administration will no longer reevaluate their eligibility. Another step is also being taken by Veterans’ Affairs, who announced that gay military couples in “committed relationships” can be buried at official VA cemeteries.

The news could be the first step in a more universal set of rules that would govern both recognition states and non-recognition states. If that’s the case, marriages, divorces, estate planning and other legal processes will become vastly easier for same-sex couples in Texas.

Until then — and even after — it’s a wise choice to hire an attorney. He or she can walk you through the process and may be able to get you over the legal hurdles you’re bound to face.

Source: buzzfeed.com, “Social Security, Veterans Affairs To Expand Some, But Not All, Same-Sex Marriage Recognition,” Chris Geidner, June 19, 2014

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