As I noted in a post last week, gay and lesbian couples who married during the few months in 2008 when same-sex unions were legal here in California have been in something of a legal grey area when it comes to divorce.
The passage of Proposition 8 in 2008 made same-sex marriage once again illegal in California, but created a number of legal issues, some of which remain unresolved. As the Los Angeles Times noted in a recent article, a 2009 ruling from the California Supreme Court “upheld the legality of Proposition 8 but ruled that the marriages of couples who wed during the months when it was legal in California would be allowed to stand.” What is less clear is what happens when some of those couples seek an Orange County, Los Angeles or San Bernardino County divorce. Similar questions surround couples who married in other states where same-sex marriage is legal but who now seek to dissolve their union in California.
As Bay Area Reporter noted last week, the Assembly has now passed a bill seeking to clarify this developing area of California family law. Assembly Bill 2700, the Separation Equity Act, was approved on May 6 by a vote of 44-21. As the newspaper notes, current California law requires a same sex couple to go through separate legal proceedings to dissolve a domestic partnership agreement and a marriage. The LA Times reports that the Assembly bill “would allow one judge to handle both in a single proceeding.” The bill now goes to the State Senate for further consideration.
Orange County divorce is never easy. In the case of same-sex couples extra complications linked to the evolving area of same-sex marriage law can often become a factor. If you are contemplating, or have decided to move forward with, an Orange County divorce meeting with an Orange County divorce lawyer who is versed in California family law and how it is changing is among the first, and most important, actions you should take. An Orange county family law attorney can be both an invaluable source of information and an indispensible source of support as you deal with the emotional and legal dislocations of divorce, family law and child custody issues.
Bay Area Reporter: Online Extra: Wedding Bell Blues: Assembly passes same-sex divorce bill
Los Angeles Times: New legislation targets same-sex divorce