The Federal government has expanded legal benefits and services to same-sex married couples. Bankruptcy is a federal law and process. What impact will this expansion have, then, on bankruptcy?
Traditionally, only a husband and wife could file a joint bankruptcy petition, as opposed to two individual bankruptcy cases. Same-sex married couples, however, would have to file two individual bankruptcy petitions. Under the new Federal expansion, same-sex couples legally married can file a joint bankruptcy together. Not only does this provide recognition by the Federal government of same-sex marriages, but it also is a cost-saving measure in bankruptcy, as a joint bankruptcy costs far less than two individual bankruptcies.
Oregon does not recognize, yet, same-sex marriages. But if a same-sex couple is married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, such as Washington, a married same-sex couple can then file a joint bankruptcy petition in Oregon if the couple meet all jurisdiction and venue requirements.