A few months ago I filed a joint bankruptcy case for a same sex married couple in the Cleveland Bankruptcy Court. This is an update of the actual experience now a discharge has been granted. In a previous article I documented the anticipated procedure.
The reality of a same sex joint bankruptcy in Cleveland was far less exciting than I was originally led to believe. I expected to be required to prove they married in a state or territory that allowed lesbian couples to marry. We were ready. I had all the necessary documentation in my file waiting for the request. It never came. In my heart I think that was fairer. I have never had to do that for a straight married couple, so why for a gay married couple?
At the meeting of creditors it suddenly struck the case trustee that there were two women sitting at the table for a joint 341. The case trustee looked at me and asked, “What’s going on here?” I replied that I had spoken to the office of the US Trustee, I recounted what I was told, and she said, “if it’s okay with them, who am I to question it.” The meeting went off as normal as can be from there.
The clients completed the financial management course without any prodding from me. From there we just waited to hear from the office of the US Trustee requesting verification of the validity of the marriage. Like I said before, no one asked. The court granted the discharge as it normally would 60 days following the meeting of creditors.
We are not finished with the case yet, though. There is still one pending motion to resolve before the case will close.
This is the second same sex married couple I’ve represented in bankruptcy. The first was a few years ago, and they filed separately, and each was granted a discharge. This was the second. The joint bankruptcy filing for this same sex married couple worked! Now if you are in a same sex married relationship, even in Ohio, you do not have to pay twice for the debt relief you deserve.