Taxes And Same Sex Couples

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

It’s tax time and refunds are not yet in the mail.  We are still doing our taxes or asking for extensions.  For same sex couples, the issues are a bit different because they are not viewed under the law as a traditional family. 

Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships give some couples the tax benefits of families, but they are tricky.  Health insurance issues, what is deductible and what is not, head of household deductions, dependent deductions, at state and federal levels all add to the murky waters of tax law. 

Also, when same sex relationships end, property division can have serious tax ramifications.  It is important to realize that same sex couples are not afforded the same discounts and advantages as married couples.  But they are benefitted by having a skilled lawyer and accountant in drafting cohabitation agreements at the beginning of a relationship and in drafting division of property and benefits at the end of a relationship.  For more information, call one of the lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.

Are we heterosexual?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Like the debate on whether or not we humans are meant to be monagamous, there is ongoing expert commentary on whether or not we humans are meant to be heterosexual.  But what happens when we are not?  What does the law in the state of Florida say about that? 

To some extent, Florida recognizes committed same sex domestic partnerships.  But this comes under contract law not family law.  What that means is that same sex committed couples can outline their relationship in terms of rights and obligations of each party in a co habitation agreement.  This agreement, if done properly, will be upheld or enforced in a court of law in this state if necessary.

Men and women of same sex orientation often find themselves in long term traditional heterosexual marriages.  Often if they get “caught” by the spouse, a divorce action and/or custody battle ensues.  Sexual orientation is used against that spouse in parenting allegations.  The law does not support that UNLESS the best interests of the child is at stake or there is some detriment to the child.   Those of same sex pursuasions can be perfectly good parents, and courts here recognize that. 

However, if you are in a traditional marriage and find your spouse to be something other than you thought, you have two choices:  either look the other way and make the marriage work, or file for divorce.  Keep in mind that you should be sensitive to your children’s needs. 

Where two homosexual partners decide to call the relationship over, again the case will proceed under contract law.  If there is a home that was purchased together, or some other financial arrangements or living arrangements were agreed to, with the break up of the relationship, the issues will be decided under Florida contract law.   If children are involved in a same sex relationship, the natural parent will prevail if it is in the best interests of the child. 

For more information about this or other topics of interest, please call one of the lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’sweb site at www.familylawwpb.com.

Same Sex Couples Need Legal Services. Here’s why…

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire – West Palm Beach, Florida

Sometimes, a traditionally married homosexual man or woman finds he or she cannot take a heterosexual life anymore.  They not only come out of the closet, they come out of a heterosexual marriage to find a same sex partner more suitable to their sexual orientation. 

Aside from the obvious divorce scenario, and perhaps even custody battles, same sex couples need the following documents drafted and executed:

1.  A pre-need guardianship.  This is in case one or the other party becomes incapacitated.  Since same sex couples do not have the same rights as marrieds, this document is important to determine a guardianship situation.  Guardianship is two-fold: power over the person and the property.

2.  Power of attorney.  This gives the other partner powers to sell, rent, contract, take bank drafts, pay bills and more.  It literally gives the partner power to stand in the shoes of the partner in a legal sense.

3.   Living will.  Everyone should have this.  It dictates who will be standing over you should you be in a vegetative state and be deciding how and when “to pull the plug.”  You can appoint your partner and your doctor, your siblings, anyone else you want to. 

4.  Health care surrogacy.  This document names who you want to stand in your shoes to make medical decisions for you should you become unable to do this on your own.  In normal marriages, it is the spouse.  Not so, in same sex couple relationships, unless there is a signed, notarized health care surrogacy document. 

5.  A will or trust.  Nothing will be left to your same sex partner unless you say so, formally, legally.

6.  Organ donor documents.  If you want to be an organ donor, you need to tell someone, formally, legally.

7.  Co habitation agreements.  This is important because it frames the ongoing relationship as well as outlines the potential, possible break up.  It delineates whose property is belongs to whom, who pays for what in running the household, and puts forth the couples’ rights, responsibilities and obligations.  These documents play an important role in the break up because there is no “legal divorce” from a same sex partnership.  The co habitation agreement controls.  It comes under contract law not family law.

For more information about these legal documents for same sex couples in Florida, please visit the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com or call Robin Roshkind, P.A. for a consultation with one of our attorneys at 561-835-9091.