Same Sex Marriage - Coming to Indiana?
On September 4th, a three judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago unanimously declared Indiana’s same sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. While that decision, and similar decisions in U.S. appellate courts in Denver, Colorado and Richmond, Virginia will eventually be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, the string of decisions supporting the right to enter into a same sex marriage suggests that those committed relationships will eventually be recognized as a matter of law in Indiana.
Regardless of how you feel about same sex marriages, they exist. The Wall Street Journal reports that marriage equality laws exist in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Even without the legal recognition that appears coming in the foreseeable future, same sex relationships inspire the same concerns as “live in” relationships and marriage.
Since no one wants to believe their marriage will result in a divorce, think about what we all view is the expectation of our marriage: that it last until “death do you part”. You might be surprised to know that once you are married, your surviving spouse has vested rights in whatever property makes up your estate. So before heading to the clergy, magistrate, or wherever, consider that you might want a pre-nuptial agreement and should always consider a will. Many same sex couples do not have children which makes such planning even more important.
While the rights and responsibilities attendant to marriage for same sex individuals will take some time to filter out through the courts and possibly the Indiana legislature, you should at least consider what may happen to your 401k and other property once you marry. Particularly in long term relationships. It seems better that you consider and decide what is best for you, and not let the State of Indiana decide for you.
Vonderheide and Knecht P.C. routinely provides information and advice about your legal rights for topics including marriage, divorce, and estates. Call us at your convenience, we’ll be glad to talk to you on the telephone to help you consider if you want to further consider your rights and schedule an appointment.