By Matthew B. Drexler, Esq.*
Teresa A. Drexler, Esq.*
Domestic relations attorneys are most familiar with the husband and wife model of litigation. Family law attorneys are also familiar with assisting a large number of couples who find themselves crashing and burning before the wedding bells ring. The cases are familiar: a male, a female, and the division or allocation of property, assets, debts, parenting time, parental decision making, child support, and sometimes the family dog is in dispute.
In June 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States deemed unconstitutional Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). On March 12, 2013, Colorado approved civil unions, which recognizes that same sex individuals may have their property, assets, debts and other benefits (e.g. retirement plans) subject to division under Colorado’s domestic relations laws.
So, domestic relations attorneys must now impress upon their clients the importance of recognizing civil unions, discuss the relative rights and obligations of individuals in a civil union and must navigate their clients through the new landscape of dissolving civil unions.
Call The Gasper Law Group for a free initial consultation to discuss the ramifications and benefits of Colorado’s Civil Union legislation and the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
At the very least, you need an attorney who will properly and confidently analyze individual benefit plan documents to determine whether benefits may be allocated in same-sex civil union relationships and, if so, how they can be divided.
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