On October 6, 2014, the United States Supreme Court decided not to hear seven pending cases on same-sex marriage, including three from Virginia. As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear these cases, same-sex marriage is now recognized in the state of Virginia. The Virginia Attorney General issued a statement that the Fourth Circuit Court would be lifting the ban by 1PM on October 6, 2014.
Below are a few ways that this ruling will change the family courts, and what you need to know:
If you were married in a jurisdiction that legally allowed same sex marriage, your marriage is now recognized as valid and legally binding in the Commonwealth of Virginia and for all purposes under federal law. Therefore, you must now file your state and federal tax returns as married. In addition, if you are the non-legal parent of your children, you are now allowed to petition for a step-parent adoption to become the legally recognized parent of your child(ren). You may now re-deed any Virginia property between you and your spouse so that it is owned as Tenants by the entirety as well. You may also now qualify for health insurance coverage and other spousal benefits available through your spouse’s employer. And, you may now get divorced in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and all the rights and privileges as well as the obligations of marriage (including spousal support, child support, the custody/visitation/access to children, equitable distribution of assets, and fault-based divorces.
If you are not currently married, you may now marry in the Commonwealth of Virginia and will be afforded all the rights and obligations of legal marriage. If you are considering marriage, you should consult a family law attorney to discuss possible Pre-Marital Agreements, Property Agreements, and/or Custody Agreements. Click here for a list of our Family Law attorneys.