Same Sex Couple Divorce: What You Need to Know in California

As the reality of same sex marriage becomes the norm across the United States, some couples will, unfortunately, also need divorce services. The good news about same sex couple divorce is that these cases usually are not plagued by gender role biases, as heterosexual marriages might be. Under the law, same sex couples have the same divorce rights as any couple.

The state of California recognizes no-fault divorces. If you determine you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences, you can legally get a divorce without having to prove reasons for a divorce. In our state, the practice is more about creating a fair split between parties so both can move forward with their lives. Some considerations that will come into play may include:


Domestic Partnerships

Unlike heterosexual divorces, same sex divorces may also require the parties to dissolve a domestic partnership. Domestic partnerships are viewed similarly to marriages in the state. You may need to dissolve both a marriage and a domestic partnership if you are legally bound by both covenants. Once you have dissolved either or both of these types of arrangements, the state will consider you single and eligible to enter into a future marriage.


Requirements for Divorce

You can get a divorce in California if you or your spouse has lived in the state for six months prior to the time of the request and one of you has lived in the county where you plan to file for divorce for three months.

If you do not meet the requirements at the time, you still have legal remedies. You can obtain a legal separation and formalize the divorce after the required time frame passes. Some individuals may also prefer a legal separation to a divorce in certain situations – for example, to maintain some benefits or to maintain religious practices.


Summary Dissolution

Summary dissolutions are an alternative for couples who have been married or in a partnership for less than five years. A dissolution may offer a viable divorce alternative for couples who do not have any children, own or rent land, or have certain debt obligations. Those who do not meet the criteria for a dissolution will have to file for a traditional divorce.


Custody and Same Sex Divorce

Custody rights are one roadblock same sex couples may face. Unless a couple can make an amicable compromise regarding custody and visitation rights, the courts must take biological information, perceived caregiver roles, and other gray-area information into consideration. This may or may not work out for some couples. Until legal precedents can help the courts create standardized judgment rules, some custody battles may make same sex couple divorces more difficult.


Dividing Assets in Same Sex Divorce

In same sex divorce, the courts may see cases where a couple has been together for 20+ years but has only been married for a short time. To fairly divide assets in these cases, the courts may need to eschew traditional asset division precedents in favor of sourcing each asset to the proper owner.


Filing for a Divorce, Separation, or Dissolution 

If you are in a marriage that is not working, there is no reason for you to remain legally bound in the state of California. Whether you were married here or you moved here after marriage in a different state, our San Diego divorce attorneys can help you dissolve your partnership, fairly divide your lives, and start over. Our team at the Boyd Law firm understands the laws and their applications in our state. We can answer your questions and start the process. For more information about our same sex divorce services, contact us today for a free consultation.