Same-sex marriage has a checkered history in California. For a few brief months in 2008, gay couples could legally marry in the state until California voters later that year passed Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages.
After many court battles, the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 upheld California’s right to allow same-sex unions and overturned Prop 8. Two years later in June 2015 in another high court ruling, same-sex couples throughout the country were granted the right to marry. Jubilant couples by the score wed, not even thinking that some would experience ups and downs and pursue separation and divorce.
From division of assets to child custody
Many of the same issues concern heterosexual and same-sex divorce. However, some complications surface in the latter. They include:
- Division of assets: Providing a fair distribution of assets can be tricky. Most judges divide assets from the time couples marry. This can prove a conundrum for many same-sex couples together for several years or decades before marrying. They likely combined their assets long before the marriage.
- Child custody: In same-sex unions, only one parent is the biological parent. Although you raised the child together, the non-biological parent may be left out of the picture. An amicable divorce helps when children are involved.
- Alimony or spousal support: This issue also brings to the forefront as to when the marriage began. The length of a marriage helps determine the amount of alimony the lower-earning spouse receives. But, once again, many same-sex couples lived together well before their marriage took place. This issue is not always clear.
- Dissolving the marriage and domestic partnership: California in 1999 became the first state to recognize domestic partnerships, which supported legal relationships for same-sex couples and granting them the rights and benefits of marriage. Same-sex couples must look into not only terminating the marriage, but domestic partnership as well.
No matter how you look at it and no matter whether involving straight or gay couples, divorce is difficult. Resolution is possible with the guidance of a reliable legal ally.