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Dissolution of a Same-Sex Marriage in California

So you have met the person of your dreams, the one you vowed to love, honor, and cherish for the rest of your days. Suddenly, you find them utterly annoying and would rather be stranded on a deserted island with a billy goat.

All antics aside, divorce is still that ugly “D” word we all shudder at. “Dissolution of Marriage” is a legal process governed by state law that are supposed to give no regard to race, religion, nationality, or gender when splitting the billy from the goat and divvying whatever hay may lay between them.

Marriage is a commitment one should not take on lightly. Yes, the ceremony was lovely, the flowers were blooming, and the harpist played a beautiful rendition of Canon in D. All you really wanted was a beautiful day, some live music and a big slice of cake since you’ve been dieting to fit into your dream couture. Oh- and someone special to share it with.

You did. And now you don’t.

During this time of global uncertainty, the rate of divorce has seen an exponential increase. The stressors of financial strain, death of loved ones, illness, homeschooling children, mental illnesses, and that spouse who repeatedly leaves the toilet seat up has placed a more significant strain on relationships of all kinds.

There is no difference in a same-gender divorce than that of a mixed-gender divorce. The legal process is exactly the same. There are two parties to the case matter; in California they are identified as Petitioner and Respondent. Any gender can be identified as these party names, depending on who filed (petitioner) and who is responding (respondent).

The 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell legalized same-sex marriage. The recognition of same-sex marriage as well as divorce is not only a human right but a civil right; regardless of gender.

If you can now legally marry regardless of your preferred pronoun, then you can also divorce regardless of your preferred pronoun.

Your legal rights during divorce will differ from state to state so I suggest you seek the advice of a licensed attorney in your state. Laws are enacted to keep either party/spouse from detrimental actions or behavior which could adversely affect them.

Let us begin. You have filed for divorce, now what happens? Regardless of gender, both parties in California must provide full disclosure of any and all financial assets and liabilities. The parties’ assets and liabilities will be categorized by the court as either community property or separate property. Community property generally refers to assets and liabilities obtained during the marriage. Separate property generally refers to property belonging solely to only one of the parties. Ok, so your grandmother gave you some of her stocks/bonds while you are married. Does that now belong to the “community”? The universally famed attorney answer would be it depends. A licensed attorney, such as those at the Sands Law Group, can help you navigate the nuances between community and separate property issues.

Another chill-inducing phrase arising during a divorce is alimony or spousal support. You married for love, and now you find yourself with no spouse and no relevant skills in today’s job market. Meanwhile, your spouse just got that corner office they were working towards. You supported them as they made it up the career ladder and now they feel they don’t have to care for you financially because “they” made the money. You can seek intervention from the court in requesting support. There are many varying factors to determine if you qualify for support. Seeking the advice of a licensed attorney can thoroughly explain and guide you through this daunting legal process.

The dissolution of marriage process is not something that can be accomplished overnight. For example, California has a six month waiting period for getting a divorce. So even though you and the soon to be ex agreed to nearly everything, you still have to abide by the governing laws and sit tight.

Under Section 2339(a) of the California Family Code, spouses cannot finalize their divorce until six months after, “the date of service of a copy of [the] summons and petition or the date of appearance of the respondent, whichever occurs first.”

The divorce process has many ups and downs, but at The Sands Law Group we are here to assist you in your quest for peace, solace and maintaining your dignity throughout the process; regardless of gender or preferred pronoun identification, we are here to help