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Positive changes for same-sex couples and student loans

Married couples in Massachusetts understand that their relationship and union could provide them some benefits. Same-sex partners in Massachusetts have not always experienced these federal and state benefits, but as the nation becomes more progressive, same-sex couples are treated virtually the same in some aspects of marriage. This in turn has caused same-sex partners to experience new and difficult issues when it comes to divorce because same-sex couples are still fighting to be treated equally when it comes to divorce and dividing assets and property.

It was recently reported that federal loan applications would treat married same-sex couples the same as heterosexual married couples. This not only helps ensure that all married couples are treated equally; it also provides excellent educational opportunities for students. Furthermore, the newly formed application would not require the married student to distinguish what type of marriage they are in.

In states such as Massachusetts where same-sex marriage is legal, both or one spouse would be treated the same as any other married individual who is applying for a federal student loan. This is true even if they apply for a loan to attend a school in one of the 34 states that have not legalized same-sex marriage at this time.

This additional benefit for same-sex couples allows for forward movement toward marriage equality. Although it is seen as a positive addition, this could create hardship or even difficulties if the couple decides to get a divorce. The ability to maintain a student loan without major alterations could be affected by the dissolution and could cause serious property division issues. Because the application does not seek to have the couple distinguish if they are in a gay or straight marriage, this could help to avoid potential future hurdles.

Concerns about assets, debts and property are common in any divorce. While same-sex partners are getting closer to marriage equality, divorce is still considered a more difficult process and is often fought for by same-sex married couples. Those dealing with difficulties in the divorce process should gain independent guidance about their situation in order to protect and preserve their rights and interests.

Source: Huffington Post, "Education Department Making Changes For Student Loans For Gay Couples," Philip Elliott, Dec. 13, 2013

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