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Changes after legalizing same-sex marriage

Marriage is rarely easy, but the opportunity to marry who one wants regardless of gender is a basic American right that was finally acknowledged by the U.S. Supreme court in June 2015. Same-sex couples in Oklahoma and other states now get to experience the same positive and negative aspects of marriage as everyone else.

Couples who cohabited before marriage might find that they face higher taxes when filing jointly after wedding as combined incomes might mean a new tax bracket. Whether filing together or separately, other spouses may not be eligible for a tax refund. However, the financial gains of marriage could overshadow any tax challenges.

Marriage offers same-sex couples more peace of mind and security. Now, spouses are eligible for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and Social Security. A spouse also inherits pensions, 401(k) balances and an estate after the other party passes away, and inheriting an estate from a spouse is exempt from federal estate taxes. Married couples may also file income tax returns as "married filing jointly" or "married filing separately".

All couples who marry hope that their unions will last forever, but gay and straight couples alike often face many challenges when a divorce is necessary. Preparing for the possibility of divorce is understandably unsettling, but prenuptial agreements can protect both parties and make the divorce process easier. When no plans are in place, a couple must attempt to form an agreement about property division and alimony along with child custody and child support if minor children are involved. If a couple cannot make a decision, a judge makes determinations instead.

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