California divorce much more complicated for gay couples

A recent series of articles in the New York Times highlights some of the difficulties the emerging patchwork of gay marriage laws are giving rise to. Currently gays and lesbians can marry in four states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont), with New Hampshire slated to join the list on January 1. Several other states and the District of Columbia are currently considering gay marriage (or “marriage equality”, as supporters prefer to call it), and a number of states, including California, recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

The Orange County divorce law and Los Angeles divorce law situation for homosexual couples was thrown into doubt in 2008 after voters passed Proposition 8, repealing California’s gay marriage statute. As reported by the New York Times, however, a court ruling last spring clarified the situation somewhat. The court stated that California divorce was still possible for gay couples married in the state while doing so was still legal (for same-sex couples married elsewhere the situation is less clear-cut).

As the more recent article notes, however, even with at least some legal issues cleared up, same-sex couples wanting to end a marriage still face hurdles unknown to heterosexuals. Some of these are related to federal tax law. For example, since the Defense of Marriage Act forbids federal recognition of gay marriages, it also forbids the IRS from giving legal gay divorces the same tax treatment as a straight divorce.

California divorce is a stressful experience under any circumstances. An experienced and compassionate Southern California divorce lawyer in Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino county or elsewhere can help you examine the many issues related to dissolving a marriage or partnership, offering advice and support on the best ways to proceed.

New York Times: For gay couples ‘traditional’ divorce isn’t always an option

New York Times: Gay divorce still legal in California