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San Francisco Bankruptcy Attorney Discusses Supreme Court Ruling on Doma and Effects on Bankruptcy

Ed Hsu Feb. 15, 2023

Today the Supreme Court struck down an important part of the Defense of Marriage Act.  The Defense of Marriage Act by the federal government defines marriage as only between a man and a woman which means that only marriages between men and women get federal government benefits.  Now, those benefits extend to same-sex marriages as well.  One federal benefit that gay married persons can enjoy is filing for bankruptcy together.  Prior to this, all gay married couples who share a household, income, assets and debts would have to file for bankruptcy separately.  This meant two fees, two petitions, two 341 hearings.  The petitions would have to be matched with individual information even though their lives were a couple.  This effected most greatly the types of bankruptcy that gay couples could file.  Since the type of bankruptcy a person can file is based on the household income, a gay couple may have to split their incomes in two when determining bankruptcy.  There are times when one of the higher earning partners was forced into a Chapter 13 bankruptcy when they could file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if they could claim their partner who had a lower income.  Because, the couple had to also file their taxes separately there was no way to show that the couple were of the same household to permit them to file for Chapter 7.  There were cases that were the opposite as well, where the couple wanted to file for Chapter 13, but had to file for Chapter 7 based on the individual income.  Hopefully, now that bankruptcy is is a right given to all couples, same-sex married couples will seek out more information about bankruptcy and the financial benefits it can give.

If you have questions about bankruptcy please give EH Law Group a call us or visit our website at  Our San Francisco bankruptcy attorneys, San Jose bankruptcy attorneys or San Mateo bankruptcy attorneys will be able to assist you.  We will discuss your situation and assess what the best option is for you.  We look forward to speaking with you soon!