Same-Sex Divorces in California

As same-sex marriage becomes increasingly popular across the United States, the probability that same-sex divorce will also rise becomes a factor. Unlike heterosexual divorces, however, same-sex divorces can be more complex, as both couples generally share assets and responsibilities quite differently than al partnership between a man and a woman. In California, there are a variety of implications to consider when preparing for a divorce, and an Orange County same-sex divorce lawyer can carefully review these considerations with you once you decide to initiate proceedings. 

Importantly, the state of California recognizes no-fault divorces, which means that a couple does not need to prove their need for a divorce, but they must simply declare that one has been requested by both parties. Such divorces also seek to have couples divide any marital assets evenly during the proceedings. Marital assets are any assets, business interests, or debts acquired throughout the course of the marriage, and excludes the inclusion of inheritances or gifts as part of those assets. Similarly, couples who entered into a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement will adhere to the guidelines set forth in that agreement.

An Orange County same-sex divorce lawyer will also review child custody, support and visitation rights if the partners adopted children, and review whether any spousal support will be required in order to maintain each partner’s current lifestyle. 

Domestic Partnership Dissolution

Unlike heterosexual marriages, same-sex couples may be required to additionally dissolve a domestic partnership, in addition to their divorce. While these types of partnerships are viewed similarly like a divorce, you will need to dissolve both arrangements if you remain legally bound to both. Only when you’ve dissolved both a marriage and a domestic partnership will the state consider you single and eligible to enter into a future state-recognized romantic partnership.

California’s Requirements for Divorce

As any Irvine same-sex divorce lawyer will tell you, California requires couples to have lived in California for a minimum of six months before initiating a divorce proceeding, and a minimum of three months in the particular county you plan to file for divorce. Notably, if you haven’t met either requirement, the couple can file for a legal separation instead, which eliminates the residency requirements. In that instance, you could enjoy the benefits of a legal separation – which are starkly similar to a divorce – while waiting for the residency requirement to kick in. A legal separation will also allow a couple to continue sharing medical benefits, which may be advantageous for one or both parties.

Dividing Assets in Same-Sex Divorce

The division of assets in same-sex divorces can be somewhat complicated due to the fact that same-sex couples may remain in relationships for several years before marrying, which would call into question what can technically be considered a marital asset. For example, a sex couple that has been together for 20+ years but married only a year ago and is now divorcing would likely run into some disagreements regarding what can be considered marital property. In these cases, your divorce lawyer may wish to argue that traditional marital asset laws must be adjusted according to what the couple acquired together, versus as part of the marriage.

Speak with an Irvine Same-Sex Divorce Lawyer at Our Orange County Law Firm

The end of a marriage can be an emotional process, but our attorneys are here to help. If you’re considering a divorce in California, contact our law firm today and we can help you determine how you would like to initiate the process. Call 949-474-0800.