Legal Services for GLBT Residents of Wausau and Surrounding Areas
Schmidt & Schmidt, S.C., is proud to serve Wisconsin's growing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population. The GLBT community has gained more enforceable legal rights across the country in recent years, though Wisconsin continues to lag behind in its progress toward equality. It is the desire of our attorneys to help GLBT clients assert what rights they have and help them take the steps needed to obtain more rights.
We provide services to GLBT clients in all of our practice areas, from family law to medical assistance planning for Long Term Care to real estate and business law. Each of these areas must be carefully thought out before taking action, because same-sex couples can't take for granted the rights that heterosexual clients can. Our attorneys will take the time to explain every detail and walk you through the steps needed to protect yourself and your partner.
A Note on Same-Sex Marriage and Divorce
Our Wausau law firm is forward-thinking and open to expansions of the law to make it more inclusive. For example, Wisconsin does not currently allow same-sex marriage, nor does it recognize same-sex marriages entered into in other states. But, what if a couple who got married elsewhere wants to get divorced in Wisconsin? The question of same-sex divorce is unanswered here. Courts in other non-gay-marriage states have actually told same-sex couples to return to the state where they got married if they want to get divorced.
That is impractical, cumbersome, expensive, and above all, discriminatory. Our attorneys, who have extensive experience in family law, would welcome the opportunity to press the same-sex divorce issue in Wisconsin courts. If you were married in another state and would like to talk about this, please contact us. We can sit down, discuss the state of the law, and give you honest assessments of the situation and the likelihood of success or failure.
Federal Benefits for Same-Sex Couples
On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Aside from the obvious victory for the notion of equality, the DOMA ruling has a huge practical effect: Gay couples who were legally married in any state will be recognized as married for purposes of federal benefits and tax provisions, no matter where they live now.
Same-sex couples now qualify for at least the following:
- Social Security benefits (spousal survivor's benefit, spousal retirement benefit, lump-sum death benefit)
- The ability to file joint federal income tax returns, thus receiving the various deductions and credits available to married couples
- Estate tax benefits (surviving spouse does not have to pay taxes on inheritance, unless it is over $5 million)
- Spouses of federal employees can receive health insurance, and receive payments from a deceased federal employee's retirement accounts
If you are a same-sex couple, married or unmarried, and you have a legal issue that needs resolution, you can feel comfortable reaching out to Schmidt & Schmidt, S.C. We are in your corner.
Contact a Marathon County Lawyer for Advice and Guidance
Schmidt & Schmidt, S.C., is happy to speak with GLBT clients about any legal issue they face. If you would like to speak with one of our experienced attorneys, please call our Wausau office at 715-845-2015 or 866-514-1627 or send us an email and we will respond promptly.