Although same-sex marriage is now legal across the country and California was at the forefront of granting these couples the same rights to marry as anyone else, a divorce in these cases can still spark confusion as to how they can be handled. Having legal advice when a same-sex couple decides to part ways is critical whether there is a legal separation, a divorce, there are children involved, property division is an issue and much more.
A marriage between a man and a woman will have certain complex factors when they decide to end the marriage. A same-sex marriage can be even more difficult to navigate. For example, when there are children, they might have been adopted with neither partner being biologically linked to the child. Or one of the partners might have been the biological parent and believe that the child belongs with them. Understanding the law when this child custody issue is assessed is crucial to resolving it. Similarly, this can impact spousal support, child support and visitation rights.
When a same-sex couple divorces, they might not realize that the circumstances will be basically the same as when an opposite sex couple divorces. If they purchased property together and there were items that came into the relationship while they were married, there could be a dispute over who has the right to that property. Perhaps there was a business that one partner ran and the other partner assisted by being a homemaker. Questions will arise as to how that business and its proceeds will be divided if it grew significantly during the time the couple was together and its value has increased substantially.
One important factor to remember is that California does not recognize common law marriages. Therefore, when there was a relationship and the couple was not legally married, this can be a sticking point in the dispute when the couple parts ways. Some cases are relatively agreeable and negotiation can be done amicably and effectively. Others have the couple disagreeing about everything. Regardless, at the end of a marriage – same-sex or not – having legal assistance is critical. A law firm that is experienced in all aspects of divorce in the state can help.