Same-sex divorce. The convoluted history of same-sex marriage in California involves years of legal battles, which ultimately gave same-sex couples the definitive right to marriage. It follows, then, that same-sex divorce has become a part of the California legal scene. That being said, are divorces among same-sex couples more complicated than those between traditional couples? In some instances, the intricacies of the problem can, indeed, seem overwhelming. That is when a local divorce attorney can be a great asset.
Requirements for Every Divorce
When anyone wishes to dissolve a marriage in California, there are some basic requirements, regardless of the specifics of the case. For example, residency requirements must be met. Those requirements include:
- At least one person must have lived in California for a minimum of six months prior to filing;
- At least one of the spouses must have resided in the same county for three months or more prior to filing.
What if neither partner is a resident? They can simply file for a legal separation, and amend that when residency is established. If there are no children or significant assets involved, some couples may qualify for a summary dissolution.
Beyond residency, in most divorces there is some amount of wrangling over child custody, visitation, and support; asset and debt division; and payment costs associated with the divorce itself. These issues can be more complex for same-sex couples.
Same-Sex Divorce and Child Custody
Frequently, children in same-sex unions are connected biologically to only one parent. When the court is asked to make decisions related to custody and visitation, that biological information must be considered, along with caregiver roles and other issues related to the best interests of the child.
Same-Sex Divorce and Asset Division
When a couple divorces, assets accumulated during the course of the marriage are equally divided. In the case of same-sex couples, marriage has only been a legal option for a limited time period. What if they have been together for years prior to getting married? Should asset division include items accrued during those years? Arguably, because marriage was prohibited during those years, they worked as a couple to build a life together.
Same-Sex Divorce for Out of State Couples
Many same-sex couples who were married in California may now live elsewhere. If they live in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage and will not dissolve one, individuals may still dissolve the marriage by filing in the California County in which the marriage occurred. However, if neither partner resides in California, there may be jurisdiction issues when it comes to deciding issues related to property division, assets and debts, and children.
You Need a Legal Advocate
Divorce is stressful under any circumstances. For same-sex couples, the issues are compounded by factors most couples need not consider. Couples need the support of a knowledgeable attorney every step of the way. At Beck Law P.C., we take care of our clients in court. Do you live in Sonoma County, Mendocino County or Lake County California? Contact us in Santa Rosa today for a confidential consultation.