DOMA and Non-Traditional Family Obligations

By Professor Michaela White, NACTT Academy Editor & Advisor

The bankruptcy court’s opinion in In re Balas, 449 B.R. 567 (Bankr. C. D. Calif. 2011), in which twenty bankruptcy judges joined, held that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the Fifth Amendment equal protection rights of same-sex debtors who seek to file a joint Chapter 13 petition. The trustee moved to dismiss the case arguing that DOMA supplies the definition “spouse” and that because the same-sex debtor couple could not meet this definition, they could not file a joint petition.  This . . .

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