Equal Marriage

Same-sex couples should consider their financial status in the wake of DOMA’s demise



Wedding bells are ringing for same-sex couples up and down the state since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. The happy couples caught up in the moment should be careful to also tend to important financial details that will have long-ranging effects.

Same-sex married couples — in states that recognize these unions — can take advantage of more than 1,000 federal benefits that previously were denied to them. These include benefits from the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, and health insurance companies. To date, though, the IRS has yet to give direction on these regulations, and many other benefits have yet to be sorted out in the real world of personal finance, wealth management, retirement, and estate planning.

Jim Casey, president and CEO of Integrated Wealth Management, has some cautionary words for those about to say, “I do.” Casey advises his affluent same-sex couples to “take a breath, wait, and don’t do anything right now.”

Casey is an experienced realist who knows the precarious financial waters that lie ahead for same-sex couples. “Don’t comingle assets yet that were held separately,” he says. “Don’t change estate plans immediately, and don’t get rid of health insurance plans.”

Rather, meeting with an attorney, CPA, wealth adviser, and insurance professional is essential in charting these these waters.  

“It’s great news,” he says, “yet there’s still an exorbitant amount of unknown out there for same-sex couples.”

Casey advises couples to consult with a CPA before changing their IRS filing status. Domestic partners may have fared better previously because they were required to file separately, and thus avoided the so-called “marriage penalty.”

Filing status is one big question. The potential tax liability of selling real estate is another. Couples thinking of changing how they hold title on property also should consult a professional. “Every couple has a unique situation,” he says.

Mark Baer, a Pasadena attorney who has practiced family law for more than 20 years, views the ruling from the perspective of divorce. Same-sex couples that marry now share the same financial concerns of other married couples that face divorce, he says. “Division of retirement accounts, spousal support, and one spouse receiving the higher earner’s social security benefits” all need to be planned, he notes. “Today, nobody is thinking divorce, but prenuptial agreements are imperative.”

Casey points to celebrity couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. “There’s a reason they haven’t wed; they have a choice. Now we have a choice.”

Comments to this website are moderated by staff. While all comments are welcome, we encourage all to be polite and please do not use this system for advertising or business promotions. Any complaint towards a business or service should be directed directly to that business and not posted here. If anyone has a complaint that a comment is defamatory, please contact me at tmay@palmspringslife.com and I will take appropriate action promptly. Thank You

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Palm Springs Life
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

5 Locations in Palm Springs to Shoot Your Wedding Using Film Photography

Film photography is expensive, laborious, and requires intense focus, but it also happens to be wedding photographer Katie McGihon’s preferred medium for the timeless images it produces in the Greater Palm Springs area.

5 Mod Steps to a Midcentury Modern Wedding

If the recent 10th edition of Modernism Week in Palm Springs gave you a greater appreciation for midcentury architecture, it’s not a stretch to take those thoughts a step further and think modern wedding.

Say “I do” in the Desert

For those getting engaged this Valentine’s Day, these stunning hotels and resorts offer a distinct ambiance and dreamy backdrops for picture-perfect weddings.

Winter Wonderland Weddings Boast Sunny Desert Style

Winter white weddings in the Greater Palm Springs Area don’t include a blanket of snow, but beyond the perfect weather is picking the right venue and what that means for you and your guests.

New Wedding, Party Rental Trends Emerge for 2015

Choice is the big word for 2015 Weddings, a year that promises couples the freedom — and the rental inventory — to blend genres, mingle eras and curate a party landscape that’s more out of the box than inside a mold.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Enter your “Cutest Pet” photo in the Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest. Online users will be able to like the Cutest Pet photos from six (6) categories.
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.