Albany, NY Same Sex Marriage Attorney Kevin Colwell
Reporter: So if you’re one of the thousands of couples who just can’t wait to take advantage of the state’s new marriage equality law, what do you have to do to prepare yourself? What steps do you need to take here? Well, to talk more about this, attorney Kevin Colwell of Colwell, Colwell, and Petroccine in Albany is joining us live tonight. Kevin thanks for being with us.
Kevin: Hi, Dory. Thanks for having me.
Reporter: Absolutely! I know that you and I spoke earlier and you said that you haven’t received any calls yet, but if and when you do get one of those calls from a same-sex couple, what is the first thing you would tell them about being legally prepared to marry?
Kevin: Well my advice to a same-sex couple is not at all different from that of a heterosexual couple contemplating marriage. They may want to consider a prenuptial agreement and when you’re thinking about something like that, you’ve got to think about what you’re going to have to deal with in the event that your marriage dissolves. Things like equitable distribution of marital assets, child support, and maintenance, child custody, spousal maintenance, those things. Now with the passage of the Marriage Equity Act, they’re available to same-sex couples as well.
Reporter: And talking about the rights that the passage of this act brings to same-sex couples, what kinds of rights? I mean obviously we know there’s a lot more, but talk about those.
Kevin: Well some of the rights that are now going to be available to same-sex couples, it’s a huge step for them. Child custody that we just mentioned, you know, children born during a marriage are entitled to a presumption that their parents, the spouses, are their parents. That presumption was not previously available to same-sex couples; it will be now. Just the right to visit a spouse in a hospital room, inheritance rights, rights to be on your spouse’s medical insurance, state pension rights.
Reporter: So, sorry to cut you off, I was going to say a lot of things that people probably might not have even thought about, but then there are certain things that necessarily this doesn’t cover such as filing federal income tax returns, right?
Kevin: Well that’s correct. The Marriage Equity Act is a New York State Act and most of the times when we think about filing joint marriage taxes, we’re thinking about our federal returns and the federal government has the Defensive Marriage Act and that is still law in the books and so one of the things that this act doesn’t cover is the ability for same-sex couples to file married filing jointly. They will be able to file their state returns jointly I anticipate.
Reporter: Yes, exactly. Well, Kevin Colwell thank you so much live in Albany tonight and we hope to talk to you again soon.