The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, although California had legalized same-sex marriage years before that landmark ruling. However, same-sex couples going through a divorce in the Riverside area may face different legal issues than heterosexual couples do.
Alimony in a same-sex divorce
One issue that may come up in some same-sex divorces is that oftentimes a couple lived together and shared income and assets for years before they were able to legally marry. Therefore, the length of the marriage may not match the length of time the couple was in a committed relationship with one another. This can impact an award of alimony in a divorce.
Generally, the length of a marriage is a factor in the award of alimony. If a couple were in a committed relationship for many years, but they were only legally married for a few of those years, basing an award of alimony on those few years of marriage may not be appropriate. Courts have discretion in such situations, which could or could not lead to a favorable result for the lesser-earning spouse. And, while some states have backdating laws, these may or not be applicable to every case.
Child custody in a same-sex divorce
Child custody rights in a same-sex divorce can also be complicated. If a child is the biological child of only one parent or was adopted by only one parent, and the child’s other parent never legally established their parentage through adoption, they may have a harder time when seeking custody or visitation rights in a divorce.
Same-sex divorcees face unique divorce issues
These are only some issues those in a same-sex divorce will face. Every divorce is unique, and this post cannot promise any specific outcome in a same-sex divorce case, nor does it contain legal advice. Same-sex divorcees in Riverside who have questions about how divorce laws in California apply to them will want to seek the advice of a professional before proceeding.