In 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the nation, although it had already been legalized in California earlier. However, with same-sex marriage comes same-sex divorce. Same-sex couples seeking a divorce face unique legal issues that other couples may not.
Many same-sex couples have a child together. However, it may be the case that they used a surrogate or sperm donor meaning the child is only the biological child of one spouse. If the other spouse did not take steps to adopt the child while married or establish legal parenthood, it could cause child custody issues if the couple ultimately divorces. For example, the non-biological parent may experience difficulty obtaining child custody or visitation rights.
California is a “community property” state for property division purposes meaning that all income and assets obtained during the course of the marriage are considered marital property subject to equal division. However, some same-sex couples lived in a committed relationship together for many years before legally marrying and they may have accumulated a significant number of valuable assets during this time, such as a home. Whether these resources obtained before marriage should be part of the marital estate can become a complex issue in the event of a divorce.
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Ultimately, same-sex couples seeking a divorce will want to make sure they understand the issues they will face in the process. With the right information, they can make decisions that are in their best interests.