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When spouses of the same sex divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2024 | Divorce

You and your spouse used to dream about getting married. Unfortunately, after being married for years, you’re no longer happy together. You’ve made the decision to get a divorce.

California is a no-fault state. This means that a person filing for divorce is not required to provide a justification. Simply stating that there are irreconcilable differences—that is, that the couple cannot get along and that the marriage is irretrievably broken—is sufficient to support a divorce petition. The only requirement is that one of the married parties has lived in California for at least six months. They must also have lived in the county where the case is being filed for at least three months before filing a petition.

Issues that may be problematic

The following are some of the issues that a same-sex relationship could encounter when filing for divorce:

  • Spousal support: If one of you is requesting palimony—spousal support for the years you were together but not married because of state laws—things might become complicated. Put another way, even if you and your spouse have been together for 20 years, you may have only been legally married for 8 years due to the prohibition of same-sex unions at the start of your relationship. California does recognize palimony in certain cases.
  • Civil partnership, also known as common-law marriage, refers to the time you spent together before you married. This can sometimes make it difficult to divide property acquired during that time.
  • Child possession: The judge may give you primary or joint custody if you are the child’s biological parent. However, don’t assume that will happen. If your spouse adopted your child, or otherwise developed a significant parental bond with your child, they may be eligible for shared custody.

Divorce rules regarding same-sex marriage remain rather complicated to this day. For this reason, it’s critical that you seek legal guidance to assist you in making the best decisions going forward.