Los Angeles LGBT Divorce Attorney
Nowadays, LGBT couples enjoy the right to enter marriages in Los Angeles. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken the walk down the aisle since the day that gay marriage was legalized back in 2015. That said, not all relationships are built to last. The divorce option is available also for married same-sex couples who no longer want to be together.
LGBT divorce is a New Legal Specialty
Are you presently in a gay marriage and considering the option of getting a divorce? If you are, it is critical for you to understand your legal rights and choices. Since same-sex marriage is a relatively new phenomenon, the legislation and procedures that govern same-sex divorce are still being devleoped. The truth of the matter is that not every Los Angeles divorce attorney will be in a position to help you navigate your gay divorce. You’ll need the assistance of a compassionate attorney who carries an in-depth understanding of this evolving area of the law that comes from experience.
The reality is that divorce can be an exceedingly stressful moment in your life, especially if there are children involved. The right lawyer will be able to assist you with all aspects of your divorce, including property division, custody of children child, support matters, etc. Reach out to a Los Angeles Gay divorce attorney today to schedule a free consultation and learn more.
Understanding Your Rights When it Comes to Gay divorce in Los Angeles
When you make a choice to get divorced, indeed you are choosing to bring your marriage to an end. As soon as the divorce is finalized, you will cease to enjoy the rights and benefits that are afforded to married couples. Your status as a single individual will be restored. It’s critical that you wrap your head around this as you navigate your divorce.
The reason is that the way in which you choose to handle your divorce will impact your future. Exercising all applicable rights during a divorce will go a long way to securing the best possible results.
Property Division in LGBT divorce Cases
The state of California is known as a community property state. As a result of this, each spouse is entitled to half of all community property from the marriage. Community property includes all the assets and liabilities that are owned jointly by both spouses. Customarily, this includes anything that is procured by the spouses, whether individually or collectively, after the wedding. Some examples of this include:
- Wages and income
- Retirement benefits
- Real estate
- Interests in a business or partnership
- Intellectual property, and more.
Also, there exists another type of property classification: separate. Separate property is anything that is owned by each spouse individually. This generally refers to property that was yours prior to marriage. In the event of a divorce, the separate property you came into the marriage with is yours to keep.
Full Disclosure Protects Your Rights
When you get a divorce, you and your spouse are required to disclose all of your assets and liabilities. This assists you to ensure complete transparency and that assets and liabilities are divided equally. You have a legal right to know about all the property that is owned by your spouse. If it was obtained after you got married, then it is likely that you have an ownership interest in that property. Your LGBT divorce attorney will do a thorough accounting of all property owned by you and your spouse. The right attorney will work with experts to make sure that every item is valued properly. This will help you to secure the best outcome in your gay divorce.
Child Custody in Gay divorce Matters
When heterosexual couples get divorced, each party will share obligations and rights regarding their children. These matters are a bit more complex when same-sex parents opt to split up. Simply because you and your spouse are married does not automatically mean that you are both legally acknowledged as a parent to a child you are raising. The reality is that you will only have custodial rights to a child if you:
- Are the child’s biological parent (where applicable, establishing paternity may be necessary), or
- Have taken the steps to adopt the child legally.
If you are not documented as a legal parent of your child, it can be far more difficult to secure custodial rights in your divorce. Nevertheless, this is not an impossible feat. If you and your child’s other parent are unable to agree on custody, a court will get involved and make decisions on your behalf. The courts will always wish to do what is in a child’s best interest. If it is clear that your child would be better off having you in his or her life, then the court has the power to overlook the fact that you have not yet legally secured parental rights.
Child Support Arrangements
When parents remain in a marriage to raise their children together, it’s easy to make sure that a child’s financial needs are met. When they choose to divorce, that generally makes things much more complicated. In a divorce, each parent still retains their obligation to make sure a child is well taken care of. The amount of money a parent has to contribute to a child’s support will depend upon the following:
- Each parent’s financial position(e.g. income, assets, job)
- Each parent’s capability to contribute, and
- The couple’s child custody agreement.
In general, the custodial parent shares a smaller portion of the burden to pay child support. The parent that has physical custody tends to spend more time with the child, provides shelter, and normally takes care of many day-to-day expenses. Because of this, the non-custodial parent (or the parent with a smaller custody timeshare) will frequently be obligated to pay support.
You have the legal right to make certain that child support obligations are calculated correctly. Your attorney will make sure that any details that are relevant to a child support decision are disclosed. If you are the custodial parent of a child and are petitioning for support, your lawyer can help you secure the money your child needs. Even if you are a non-custodial parent, your lawyer will make sure that you pay no more support than is absolutely necessary.
LGBT divorce Spousal Support
Spousal support, which is more commonly referred to as alimony, may be an option in LGBT divorce cases. It’s typically awarded in situations where one spouse earns much more than the other. This is frequently applicable to a situation when one spouse leaves the working world to stay at home and take care of the family and/or to be a support system for the other spouse’s career and education. The intention of a spousal support payment is to allow the lower-earning spouse to acclimate to life after divorce at a living standard to which they have become accustomed.
The duration of spousal support payments often depends on how long the marriage lasted. Due to the fact that same-sex marriage has only been legal for a five years at the time of this writing, in general, divorcing gay spouses will only qualify for alimony for a short period of time.
Gay divorce in Los Angeles: The Residency Requirements
California State imposes a residency requirement on divorcing heterosexual couples. This fact is not the same for LGBT couples.
Why is that?
The reason for this is that for years, California was one of a mere handful of states to recognize the right of same-sex couples to get married. Because of this, LGBT couples from all over the nation visited the state just to tie the knot. At present, those couples may find that it is difficult to obtain a divorce back in their home states. Although marriage is legal nationwide, numerous states are making it very difficult for couples to exercise their rights. As a result, getting a divore may take more time or be a long, drawn-out process.
Therefore, the state of California waives the residency requirement for same sex couples. The state will permit couples who were married in the state to request a divorce, no matter where they currently live. Nevertheless, it is critical to understand that California may not be able to hold jurisdiction over certain legal issues that affect your divorce. That said, it’s important to work with an attorney who can help walk you through these very complicated situations.
Your divorce Will Take a Minimum of Six Months
divorce isn’t a thing you can start and finalize in a matter of days. This is a fact even if you and your spouse are able to agree about each and every aspect of the break up. California legislation provides that the process of divorce has to take at least 6 months. The countdown generally begins when the spouse who filed the request for the divorce (the petitioner) has the divorce papers formerly served on the other spouse (the respondent).
After six months have passed, the judge has the power to review your petition for a divorce. That said, the judge will not sign off until you have come to agreements on all of the relevant terms of your split up. This entails issues such as property division, and child custody and visitation.
Alternatives to Gay divorce in Los Angeles
Getting divorced is not the only way to end your marriage in Los Angeles. There are other, less expensive and less time-consuming avenues you can take. These options will only be available to you and your spouse if you meet the minimum requirements.
Annulment: An annulment is a process of ending a marriage that is void or voidable. In plain English, annulment gives you a way to dissolve a marriage that was never actually legal in the first place. A marriage may be void or voidable if:
- The marriage certificate was never filed
- The spouses are related by blood
- One (or both) spouses was still married to someone else on the wedding day
- One (or both) spouses didn’t meet or exceed minimum age requirements
- A spouse demonstrates some kind of physical or mental incapacity, or
- The marriage is based on a fraud.
When a marriage is annulled, in the eyes of the law, it is as if it never took place at all.
Summary Dissolution: A summary dissolution can assist young couples who have not been married for an extended period of time. You can qualify if you have only been married for less than 5 years, share no children together, and possess no real property together. If you decide on a summary dissolution, you will be required to divide whatever marital assets you do have.
Legal Separation: Legal separation doesn’t technically end your marriage. Nonetheless, it does allow you to take some time away from your spouse, while still enjoying the benefits of marriage. When you get separated, you can move on as though you’re single but still enjoy the health, tax, and retirement benefits of life as a married person.