Same Sex Divorce in California: The Facts You Should Know
Carlsbad, CA – California’s first same-sex marriages became possible on June 16, 2008, when the state began handing out marriage licenses to same-sex couples . Today, marriage between same sex individuals is becoming commonplace. Unfortunately, some of those marriages will end up in divorce.
By allowing same sex couples to marry, California legislators hoped to normalize gay marriage. Therefore, you can expect many of the rulings to be similar to the ones as they apply to opposite sex marriages. There are some distinct differences, on the other hand. For instance, in most cases, these divorce cases won’t be plagued by the usual gender role biases. Other than that, most considerations will be the same as all divorces, heterosexual or otherwise.
No Fault Divorce
The state of California recognizes no-fault divorces, which means that you don’t have to give a reason for your divorce. You can simply state that you and your spouse have “irreconcilable differences”, and that is enough to proceed with the divorce. The idea behind this statute is to allow two parties to split fairly so they can both move on with their lives.
And while it is possible to file for divorce without a lawyer, it is not recommended. That is because, like heterosexual marriages, same-sex marriages may become complicated by the following considerations.
- Child Custody and Visitation: With more same-sex couples adopting children or having kids from previous relationships, you and your spouse may need to decide who gets to see the children, how often, who will be the custodial parent, and how visitation will be conducted. Of course, if there is a history of alcoholism, drug abuse and/or physical abuse, this issue won’t be so cut and dry, and it’s recommended that you get the advice of a trained and experienced divorce lawyer.
- Child Support: If you are the custodial parent, you may want the other spouse to pay child support. The amount of support will be based on the other spouse’s income, investment and retirement accounts, and any other income that may need to be considered.
- Property Division: If a house, boat, cars or other property were accumulated during the marriage, those may need to be split between the two parties. These can also include retirement accounts, 401K accounts, and investments. Of course, if a prenuptial agreement was in place prior to the marriage commencement, some property may be protected from the list of divisible assets. A qualified family attorney can give you a more specific answer related to your case.
- Debt: If debt was acquired during the marriage, such as credit cards, mortgages and other loans, an agreement will have to be made as to how much each spouse will contribute to each account.
- Legal Fees: If one spouse earns significantly more than the other spouse, the higher earner may be required to pay the other spouse’s legal fees. Your attorney can help you draft up the required paperwork to submit a request for the payment of legal fees prior to the divorce proceedings.
Dissolving the Domestic Partnership
Like traditional marriages, the divorce process will take six-months from the date the divorce is filed. This allows time for each attorney to conduct discovery on financial documents and other important matters, and the other spouse will also need to be served. Some divorces can take longer if all matters are not agreed upon or if there are other complicating matters, such as if the other spouse cannot be located or the paper is incorrect.
To ensure that your same-sex divorce happens quickly and with few complications, call the experienced and aggressive, yet compassionate, family law attorneys at Griffith, Young, and Lass, serving the areas of San Marcos, Carlsbad, Escondido, and elsewhere throughout California.
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