» Same-Sex Florida Couple Files Joint Bankruptcy, May Challenge DOMA

Same-Sex Florida Couple Files Joint Bankruptcy, May Challenge DOMA

Brandon, FL (Law Firm Newswire) June 16, 2013 - A same-sex couple's attempt to file joint bankruptcy could end up challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The couple, who reside in Florida, were legally married in Vermont. When their finances took a turn for the worse and they were unable to pay their mortgage, they made the logical choice and filed for joint bankruptcy. But they hit a roadblock because Florida does not recognize same-sex marriages even when they are formed pursuant to other states' laws.

“This is a question of whether states must recognize marriages that are legal in other states,” said Brandon bankruptcy lawyer O. Reginald Osenton, who is not involved in the filing. “The Defense of Marriage Act says that the states and the federal government need only recognize the validity of opposite-sex marriages. This can lead to confusion and concern for legally married same-sex couples, particularly when they relocate to states that do not permit same-sex marriage.”

Daniel Maltbie, 57, and Garry Houston, 59, hope their joint bankruptcy petition is eventually accepted without challenge. They say they just want to put this business behind them. But if it is not, their bankruptcy attorney, Brian Zinn, says that he will probably appeal. The matter could then move up through the court system, possibly culminating in an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Defense of Marriage Act has already been challenged numerous times in federal court. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on its constitutionality within a month.

Maltbie and Houston, who owe about $75,000, stand to save about $1,800 if they are permitted to file a single joint bankruptcy petition as opposed to separate petitions. Both receive disability benefits, and Maltbie receives a pension.

In an interview with CNBC, Stratton Pollitzer, deputy director of Equality Florida, said seemingly small court cases can shift legal trends. He highlighted an earlier Florida case in which the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) denied a man in a same-sex marriage a new driver's license with his married name. The man prepared to take his case to court with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, but before his initial hearing, the DMV apologized and granted his request for a new license.

To learn more or to contact a Brandon divorce lawyer or to contact a Brandon divorce attorney, visit http://www.brandonlawoffice.com.

Osenton Law Office, PA
500 Lithia Pinecrest Road
Brandon, Florida 33511
Call: (813) 654-5777

  • Avoid Probate by Making Financial Accounts Payable on Death
    Probate can be a time-consuming and, in some cases, expensive process. Probate is not avoidable in every case, but with some advance planning, the need for probate can be minimized. Designating beneficiaries for financial accounts and other assets is a useful tool to avoid or limit probate. Bank accounts can be made payable-on-death (POD) by […]
  • Keeping your home in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy
    Homeowners considering filing for bankruptcy often wonder whether doing so means they will lose their home, and whether Chapter 7 liquidation or Chapter 13 reorganization is the better option. Most homeowners can keep their homes if they wish, and the situation is even better for Floridians than for most others. Those filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy […]
  • Keep recent and up-to-date powers of attorney for an effective estate plan
    Powers of attorney are a very important part of an effective estate plan. A power of attorney is a legal document that grants a person whom you trust, called your “agent,” the power to act on your behalf in certain ways and under certain circumstances. For instance, a durable power of attorney for health care […]

See other news sources publishing this article. BETA | Tags: , , , , ,



Get headlines from Law Firm Newswire sent right to your inbox.

* indicates required