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. 

At Seastrom Tuttle & Murphy, all of our attorneys are highly experienced in representing LGBTQ+ spouses during the divorce process and other family law matters. If you are contemplating a divorce, we can help you thoughtfully consider all of the issues involved and develop a plan for moving forward. Then, during the divorce process, your attorney will work with you one-on-one to efficiently and favorably resolve all issues in the following areas:

  • Property Division
  • Debt Division
  • Spousal Support
  • Child Custody and Parenting Time
  • Child Support

We have particular experience representing spouses in high-income and high-asset divorces. In these divorces, we place particular emphasis on the valuation of assets, assessment of the standard of living, tax planning and other similar types of issues. In all cases, we work with our clients to understand their personal needs and priorities, and we ensure that the outcomes we obtain fully reflect our clients’ short-term and long-term goals. 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. 

No Fault Divorce in California

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.

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 Same-Sex 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 LGBTQ 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.

Experienced and Compassionate Legal Representation for Other LGBTQ+ Family Law Matters

In addition to representing same-sex spouses in divorce, our Irvine same-sex divorce attorney assists same-sex spouses, partners and couples with all other types of family law issues. If you need assistance with any of the following, we encourage you to contact us for a confidential consultation at our offices in Irvine, CA:

  • Establishing Parentage – We assist same-sex spouses and partners with all aspects of establishing paternity or parentage.
  • Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements – litigation of same-sex spouses with respect to prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
  • Domestic Partnership Agreements – If you and your gay or lesbian partner have chosen not to get married, we can assist you in terminating that partnership.
  • Post-Divorce and Post-Separation Issues – We assist former spouses and partners with enforcement and modification of financial support and custody rights, among other issues.
  • Family Law Mediation – If you and your same-sex spouse or partner have reached an impasse in your relationship, family mediation may be an excellent option to help you move forward.

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 Irvine same-sex divorce 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.