Mark Senick Attorney at Law

Marriage in California

Marriage in California is now equally available to same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

All persons married in California will have equal benefits and obligations under both State and federal law. California benefits have long been available to those same-sex spouses who married in 2008, and to persons who registered as domestic partners with the California Secretary of State. Community property rights and obligations are one example of California law applicable to spouses and registered domestic partners.

Now federal benefits are available to all of the same-sex spouses who married in 2008, and those who are marrying now. Federal benefits are not available to registered domestic partners.

The important federal benefits available now to married same-sex spouses which have always been available to opposite-sex spouses are (1) the right to file a joint federal income tax return, (2) the right to make unlimited gifts between spouses during life or at death without federal or estate gift taxation, (3) the right to sponsor a foreign spouse for residency and citizenship, and (4) the right to receive spousal social security benefits.

Marriage also has implications with regard to eligibility for Medi-Cal (the California Medicaid program), SSI benefits, and other types of federal and State support. These implications must be seriously considered before deciding whether marriage is right for you.