Is There a Difference in Divorce Procedures for Same-Sex Couples in California?
For same-sex couples seeking to end their partnership, there may be some confusion as to whether a same-sex divorce follows the same steps as a different sex divorce. Fortunately, divorce proceedings are the same for same and different sex partnerships. In the case of divorce, the court does not care who you chose to marry and focuses more on how to help both parties separate in a peaceful manner. Furthermore, California is a no-fault state, which means that there is no guilty party to blame in the divorce. As such, couples can divorce due to irreconcilable differences and do not need to provide any more reasons to the court to explain their decision.
If you are in a same-sex partnership and wish to divorce, the court will want to consider any:
- Custody and visitation
- Child support
- Partner support
- Division of property
- Responsibility of debts
It will take at least 6 months for same-sex partners to divorce one another. Divorce proceedings can take longer dependent on how quickly both parties reach a compromise regarding custody or division of property. However, while divorce can take longer, it cannot occur before 6 months after starting the case.
California Residency Requirement for Different Sex and Same-Sex Marriages
For married couples to get divorced, same sex or otherwise, couples must meet California’s residency requirements. Either you or your partner must have lived in:
- California for the last 6 months, AND
- The county where you plan to file the divorce for the last 3 months.
If you do not meet the residency requirement, you can still file for a legal separation. There is a residency exception, according to the California Courts Judicial Branch of California, regarding residency requirements for same-sex couples. Same-sex married couples who got married in California but live in a state that will not dissolve a same-sex marriage, can file for divorce in California, regardless of these residency requirements. Couples are still required to file in whichever county they were married. Note that as of the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, there are no longer any states that will not dissolve a same-sex marriage.
If you’re not sure whether you can divorce your same-sex partner or need assistance in reaching a compromise regarding custody, child support, or division of property, reach out to the family law attorneys at Hoover ♦ Krepelka, LLP. We’ve been assisting couples for decades answering any questions regarding divorce for all types of partnerships.