Residency is a necessity in a CA divorce, except when it’s not
As of just a few years ago, same-sex couples have come to enjoy a growing level of equality when it comes to marriage and divorce. California could arguably be in the forefront of states trying to even the playing field in this regard.
That isn’t the case in every other state of the union. Even today, with U.S. Supreme Court decisions in 2013 and last year establishing that same-sex marriage is legal, the same cannot always be said about divorce. In some states, the courts refuse to grant divorces for same-sex couples.
In some cases it may be because judges are pushing back against the Supreme Court’s rulings. In others, it might be language in state laws that haven’t been changed to reflect marriage as being between two people rather than between a man and a woman. Regardless of the reason, it can create some complicated situations.
Residency rules have proven to be another source of difficulty in some states. In this area, too, California has sought to be something of a trailblazer. And so it is that while divorce for couples, whether they are same- or other-sex in California is nearly identical, residency is one thing for which the law provides for an exception.
For example, the law of the state is that if a couple is seeking a divorce, one of the two spouses must be a resident of the state for at least six months before a filing can be made. However, the state waives that rule in cases where same-sex couples married legally in California and now reside in another state. The only caveat is that a filing for divorce has to be made by the couple in the same county in which they were married.
What this reflects is that while efforts to level the playing field are being made, it hasn’t been achieved across all the states. Legal complexities remain for some divorcing same-sex couples, making consultation with an attorney imperative.