With California being such a progressive State, laws and statutes are often changing and this is no different with the way same sex marriages are handled. Years ago when same sex marriage become law, the opportunity for marriage become available to those who it wasn’t previously. With that new opportunity to marry also came the responsibility for the State of California to create a procedure to dissolve those marriages, should couples decide to do so. Law makers were tasked with creating a procedure for the courts to be able to process a divorce for same sex marriages.
Previous to these changes, the court was processing dissolutions of domestic partnerships, but this was also available to do through the State of California in situations where none of the typical family law related issues needed to be handled. Examples would be partnerships without children, assets and or debts. Simply dissolving the partnership could be done with a few forms through Sacramento. On the other end of the spectrum, the court process for these types of dissolutions mirrored the standard California divorce or legal separation process.
It seems the simplest way, and really the way that the process could be implemented without too much complication would be to just allow all divorce petitions to be filed by anyone, regardless of gender. California’s standard divorce petition form FL-100 didn’t ask for gender anyways, so simply using that same form and required attachments allowed for anyone to file and work through the divorce process like business as usual.
The most recent version of California’s divorce petition was updated on July 1st, 2016 and is the form used by same sex couples who are processing the divorce. Essentially, for a complete overview of the process, just visit the court’s website to see their divorce process information.
While the process is streamlined and mirrors the divorce process, the terms, and the potential for trials and hearings is always present. Just because the divorce or family law proceeding involves two parties of the same sex, doesn’t mean that issues of custody, support and assets or debts are any less complicated. In situations where the parties are not coming to an agreement, or the case may become contested, consulting with a family law attorney may be the best first step. While the process is almost identical, some same sex couples may have adopted children and then attorneys who specifically handle same sex divorce may help. Since same sex marriage is relatively new in California and the state did allow for domestic partnership prior to, so in situations where there was a domestic relationship and then it was either converted to a marriage, or still remains as such, attorneys who are familiar with domestic relationship laws may be of help.
Either way, family law cases can be complex. With the availability of information online, it is easy to do initial research and begin a list of top level topics or questions to ask a local professional. When searching make a list of questions, find some initial information and then a local attorney can help refine the answers of those topics and specifically tell you how they apply to your situation. With something as important as divorce, separation and really any family law case, meeting with several professionals is best. You will begin to see a clearer picture of how the process may have bearing on you. This also makes sure that you find a professional who is familiar with the process. Since you have done your initial research, you will have some idea when meeting with them if they really are as experienced as they say. For more information, here is an overview of same sex divorce.