June 26, 2015
Janis Cowhey, Co-Leader of the Modern Family & LGBT Services Group, Quoted in Bloomberg Article, "Supreme Court Marriage Ruling Unties Couples' Personal Finance Knot."
By Margaret Collins, Richard Rubin and Laura Davison
The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide will remove tax and personal-finance headaches that have bedeviled gay couples.
The 5-4 decision by the court on June 26 is a particularly significant victory for many residents of the 14 states where same-sex marriages were banned, often under state constitutional amendments (Obergefell v. Hodges, U.S., No. 14-556, 2015 BL 204916, 6/26/15).
"It levels the playing field for everybody," said Janis Cowhey, a partner at Marcum LLP in New York and co-leader of the firm's Modern Family & LGBT Services Practice Group. "Now it's just about planning for a couple and a family."
The ruling also may simplify tax filing for those couples receiving income from different states and make traveling across state borders easier for those who are already married, she said.
Cowhey has told clients who are married in New York, for example, to keep their marriage license and other documents such as a health-care proxy and living will, on a flash drive—in case they are traveling in a state where their marriage isn't recognized. If there is a car accident, for example, they then would have the documentation needed to see their spouse in a hospital or help make medical decisions, she said.