Divorce Lawyer for Same-Sex Couples in Los Angeles, CA
California Law Related to Same Sex Dissolution of Marriage
Same-sex marriage or domestic partnership dissolution services are available to gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender families in California, regardless of the current legality of same sex marriage in the state. California’s family codes also allow the state to grant a divorce or dissolution regardless of whether the partnership is legally defined as a marriage, civil union or registered domestic partnership.
How Does an Attorney Help During a Gay Divorce?
When it comes to the numerous emotional, financial, and legal implications of a divorce, those in same sex partnerships are very similar to divorcing heterosexual couples. Many of the same issues must be handled, and coming to an agreement when emotions are high can be difficult. A skilled attorney with experience in LGBT divorce will guide you through the process, addressing concerns that may include:
- Property Division
- Alimony or Spousal Support
- Child Custody
- Child Support
Are There Any Special Circumstances Surrounding Same-Sex Divorce?
While many of the emotional and practical issues surrounding a divorcing same sex couple are the same as those of a heterosexual couple, there are some differences when it comes to the legal aspects of partnership dissolution. For this reason, it is important to choose a family law attorney who has experience with LGBT issues as well as comprehensive understanding of the California laws.
California currently offers a registered domestic partnership to gay couples in place of marriage. While these partnerships invoke a majority of the same rights as a traditional marriage, there are some differences. For example, LGBT couples who are married or involved in a registered domestic partnership are entitled to alimony in California. Federal laws, however, do not recognize these marriages, so the income tax laws are applied to these payments differently. An experienced attorney will be able to determine how this affects same sex clients.
What About Divorce for Non-Residents?
While California has a residency requirement for divorce between opposite-sex partners, there is no such requirement for same-sex married couples who were married in California. This allows couples who were married or entered into a same-sex domestic partnership in the state to dissolve their union, even if they live in a state where LGBT divorce is not recognized.
There are some limits on this, though. Same-sex non-residents must file for marriage dissolution in the county where they were married. In some cases, this may require working with a lawyer far from their new home. Traveling to California to attend meetings with your attorney and attend hearings may also incur additional expenses on top of legal fees.
In addition, it may be difficult to enforce rulings on property division, alimony, and child custody for residents who reside outside of California. This is especially true if both partners currently reside outside of California. A lawyer experienced in same-sex marriage dissolution can offer you advice on how to overcome this issue, based on your individual situation.
Is Mediation Using During LGBT Divorce in California?
Many opposite-sex couples are able to avoid divorce litigation in a courtroom thanks to the help of a specially trained mediator. This option is also available for same-sex couples who are seeking a dissolution of their marriage. Divorce mediation, while entirely voluntary, allows two people to end their partnership and divide assets without ever appearing before a judge in family court.
Mediation is an especially good option for former partners who are seeking an amicable resolution to their union. It can also work well despite ill feelings or bitterness that exists between the two spouses. The goal in mediation is to reach an agreement that is beneficial to both parties through discussion and negotiation. Just like litigation, mediation requires a skilled lawyer. The process, however, may be significantly faster and less costly than litigation. This means there may be less stress due to the emotional nature of divorce, and both partners can gain closure sooner.
Why Choose Us
Land Legal Group, a family law firm in Los Angeles, has extensive experience representing clients in same-sex divorce and domestic partnership dissolution cases. We are experts in the laws that govern LGBT unions and divorce, and will guide you through the divorce process based on our knowledge of these laws and past cases. Call us today at (310) 552-3500 to learn more.