Why should GL couples consider a premarital legal assessment?

They should have a pre-marital legal assessment so that they are not inadvertently giving up advantages or rights that they may have if they choose not to be married. We have a declining rate of marriage in this country. That includes heterosexual couples who are sitting down and making choices for various legal and financial reasons not to get married.

Let’s talk about why for some of those LG couples. One would be if you’ve been married previously and are receiving alimony, that alimony payment will terminate if you marry your GL fiance. Number two … There are tax consequences. If you are married in this country and you make a similar income as your spouse, you are going to pay more in taxes as a couple than you would if you were filing separately. That’s called the “marriage tax penalty” … informally called that.

A third one would be inheritances. If you marry and you do not provide in your will for your spouse, then your spouse can still claim one-third of your estate, even if you said you don’t want them to have any money. If you don’t have a will, then your spouse will have claim to all of your assets, which you may not want to have happen.

A third is what will happen if you have children involved in this relationship. If you are a lesbian couple, and one of you gave birth to the child, under Florida law that person is considered to be the legal parent. Unless you have had an adoption by the other parent of that child, you are no more than a stepparent. If you have a divorce, you will have no rights for time-sharing or contact with that child.

So, for those reasons and for other reasons, it is necessary and in the best interest of gay/lesbian couples to have a legal assessment and determine if they need a premarital contract, a postmarital contract, or should they get married at all.