A recent article posted on CNN.com details the extent to which same sex divorce has emerged as a gray area in the realm of family law. As the article explains, five states and the District of Columbia now allow gay marriage, but since many other states prohibit the practice divorce can be difficult for same sex couples.
California’s situation is especially complex. Our state allowed gay marriage for a few months in 2008 before voters overturned it in a referendum. That, in turn, raises the question of whether a gay couple can be granted a divorce in a state which is now legally barred from recognizing their marriage. The law on situations like these is still evolving but, for now, the answer to this Orange County and Los Angeles divorce question appears to be that courts will hear California divorce cases involving same sex couples whose marriages were conducted while such unions were legal in the state. The Orange county divorce prospects for gay couples married in other states are less clear.
As CNN notes, “The battle over gay divorce comes with plenty of conflicts: if the state doesn’t recognize gay marriage, then how can that state dissolve a gay marriage? What if a state that outlaws gay marriage grants a same-sex divorce? Does that imply gay marriage is recognized?” The article details the ways in which different states are addressing these questions and notes that in some states different courts have issued conflicting rulings. The issue is particularly complicated because states, as a rule, recognize marriages and divorces performed or granted in other states. Further complicating the matter are questions of residency: while states generally allow out-of-state visitors to get married more-or-less immediately divorce laws generally require residency in the state (for six months in the case of California divorces).
These and other legal issues surrounding Southern California divorce law can be complex and confusing. An experienced Orange County divorce attorney can guide you through the process of obtaining a Orange County, Los Angeles or San Bernardino County divorce and negotiating a California child custody agreement while defending and protecting your interests. Consulting with an Orange County divorce lawyer is the key first step toward getting the settlement you deserve.