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Federal government may focus more on same-sex couples

Residents of Washington may be interested to learn that President Obama appears to be signaling a new willingness to address head-on the plight of same-sex couples throughout the United States. In Washington, same-sex couples are now allowed to get married or form domestic partnerships as a result of the November election.

However, there are federal laws that still impede and infringe on the rights of same couples in the Spokane area; namely, the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman. This act has made it very difficult for same sex couples to exercise the same rights as their straight counterparts on a federal level.

It now seems that rather than leave each battle up to the states, President Obama is willing to make more strident efforts on a national basis to afford all same sex couples the same rights as their opposite-sex couples. At the same time, there are some crucial cases currently before the Supreme Court involving the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and the Proposition 8 initiative that banned same sex marriage in California.

Of course, with more recognition of same-sex relationships can come the question of how they are terminated. No matter the sex of the parties involved, the dissolution of any partnership between two individuals who were once committed to sharing their life together is an emotionally draining process. Many issues need to be addressed in these proceedings including the division of property, division of assets, and spousal support. If the couple has children together, issues of child custody, visitation rights, and child support need to be addressed as well.

It is important to obtain as much information as possible before filing these types of actions. An experienced family attorney can help in obtaining the best possible outcome in any family law matter, especially as laws are changing on a state and federal level.

Source: New York Times, "Obama's Shifts May Affect U.S. Legal Plan on Gay Marriage" Adam Liptak, Feb. 3, 2013

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