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Same-Sex Divorce Attorneys in Los Angeles

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California began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as of 2008 but then had to bar issuing them until 2013 due to Proposition (Prop) 8. The state then recommenced issuing them when Prop 8 was dismissed.

A divorce in California is typically referred to as a “dissolution of domestic partnership” or “dissolution of marriage.” In fact, the state is technically allowed to grant a dissolution/divorce whether a couple is registered as married or part of a domestic partnership or civil union.

To obtain a divorce, you can cite “irreconcilable differences,” and you do not have to cite any other reasons, as California is a “no-fault” state for all couples seeking a divorce. The process typically takes at least six months or longer; however, some couples that have been married or in a domestic partnership for less than five years can get what’s called a “summary dissolution,” which can be an easier process.

Differences for Same-Sex Couples

Typically, in order to divorce in California, either you or your spouse need to have resided in California for the last six months, and in the specific county where you file for divorce for at least the last three months.

California also offers the option of filing for a legal separation, which can be convenient for couples who do not yet meet the residency requirement. Once you do meet the residency requirement, filing an amended petition and requesting a divorce from the court is the next step.

What can be challenging about any and all arrangements related to same-sex marriage and divorce is: Not all states have complied with the Supreme Court’s ruling in the same way. In fact, some couples—particularly those who marry in one state and then divorce in another—are definitely facing challenges when it comes to child custody issues, for example. Other areas typically handled during divorce—and which can also be affected—include child support, alimony, and property division. For these reasons, you will want to ensure that you hire an attorney who is specifically experienced in handling same-sex and/or LGBT divorces.

For example, same-sex couples who were married in California, and then moved out of state and into a state that refuses to dissolve same-sex marriages, are able to file for divorce in California without having to meet the residency requirement. Similarly, for couples that are registered as domestic partnerships in California, moving away—and not even having lived in California—does not change your right to have your domestic partnership dissolved in the state of California (in other words, you do not need to meet the residency requirements first in order to obtain a dissolution).

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However, it is important to note that for both scenarios (marriage and domestic partnership), if neither you nor your spouse currently live in California, the court may not be able to decide on related important issues such as child custody, alimony, property division, or debt, if you do not meet the residency requirements.

This is yet another reason why speaking with a lawyer who is specifically experienced in same-sex marriage and divorce is crucial if you and your partner are a same-sex couple contemplating divorce in the state of California. At Lavinsky Law, our Los Angeles same-sex divorce attorneys have helped countless clients achieve their legal goals over the years and we can help you, too.

Call (310) 929-6411 to schedule your free initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable same-sex divorce attorneys in Los Angeles.

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