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same sex marriage

LGBTQ legal matters: Same-sex marriage

Now that same-sex marriage is legal in all U.S. states, there are fewer legal issues to manage than there used to be, but you may still have a few questions. You may be wondering how to change your name or how to file taxes. Whatever your questions about marriage are, we can help.

Questions about marriage?

Ask a lawyer any question and find other legal resources for newlyweds.

How do we change our names after we get married?

In most states, if you simply want to use your spouse’s last name, you can just start using that name and updating your government documentation (driver’s license, Social Security card, passport) with local agencies. However, some states will require that you petition the courts for a court order to change your name. If that is the case, first, you’ll want to include your new names on your marriage license. Once you receive your marriage certificate, you’ll file with your local clerk’s office to change your name. Most name changes are granted as long as you are not changing your name to escape legal issues and the new name is not considered “offensive.” Once you receive the court order to change your name, you can change your IDs, passport and Social Security card.

Can anyone get married?

The current laws do not limit who can get married as long as you are of age, not under duress, and not already married. States also have laws about family marrying, for example marrying your close kin like a parent or first cousin is usually not legal. As long as you are legally able to get married in the state, you can get married in that state. State marriage laws do not make distinctions between gender or sex.

How do same-sex couples file taxes after getting married?

In that past, filing taxes was more complicated. For example, if you lived in a same-sex marriage state, you’d file your state taxes together, but file your federal taxes separately. Now, you can file together regardless of which state you live in. Any married couple can choose between filing Married Jointly or Married Separately.

Can wedding vendors refuse to provide services for LGBT weddings?

The answer to this is murky at best. While the Supreme Court absolved a Colorado baker for refusing services, the decision doesn’t dictate what other companies may or may not be allowed to do. Some businesses state they can refuse services “for any reason.”  Some tout religious freedom as the means for refusing service. Additionally, state and local laws vary. Either way, you may be most happy choosing vendors that are thrilled to work with you and make your wedding dreams come true. If you feel you have been unfairly discriminated against, you may benefit from discussing the issue with a lawyer.

Is it difficult for same-sex married couples to adopt?

It can still be difficult for same-sex couples to adopt or foster children. While state laws may not prohibit adoption, many private adoption agencies are not restricted by those laws. Some states even limit fostering if the welfare agencies believe it may conflict with religious beliefs. States such as California and Rhode Island may be less restrictive whereas states like Texas, Mississippi, and Virginia may be more restrictive. If you want to adopt or foster, consult with a family law attorney to see what your options may be in your state.

Are you getting married and have questions about LGBTQ marriage laws? We can help. We provide low-cost legal services, easy-to-make legal documents, wedding vendor contracts, and more.

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