On February 24, 2011, a same-sex couple filed a joint Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition in Los Angeles, California. Why is this big news?
Bankruptcy is one of the many areas in which same-sex couples are treated differently from opposite-sex couples. Even if a lesbian or gay couple is legally married (for example, the couple lives and marries in Massachusetts) or has formed a domestic partnership in a state that provides domestic partners with the same benefits as married partners (such as California), since federal law does not recognize the same-sex marriage or domestic partnership, the couple must act as if they are not married when it comes to bankruptcy. That means filing separate bankruptcies, even if filing a joint bankruptcy would make more sense or would confer significant benefits for the couple. To learn more, read this blog post on Nolo's Bankruptcy & Foreclosure Blog.