Los Angeles LGBT Divorce FAQs
Are you considering a divorce in Los Angeles, California? If so, you likely have many questions and don’t have to navigate the complicated legal process alone.
A Los Angeles same-sex divorce attorney at Berenji & Associates can assist you through this difficult time. Our dedicated and compassionate legal team has over 25 years of experience helping couples with complex family law issues.
We understand that it’s a highly emotional time, and our objective is to alleviate your stress. Our Los Angeles divorce lawyers will listen to your goals, answer your questions, and explain your legal rights. To learn more about our legal services, contact our law office for a free consultation by calling (310) 271-6290.
Below, we answer some frequently asked questions regarding LGBT divorces in Los Angeles, CA.
How Can a Los Angeles LGBT Divorce Lawyer Help Me?
No matter who you are, divorce isn’t an easy process. While same-sex couples face many of the same issues as heterosexual couples, you may encounter unique obstacles, particularly if children are involved.
Accordingly, it’s wise to enlist the help of a Los Angeles family law attorney with experience handling same-sex divorces. The legal team at Berenji & Associates is here to provide guidance as you go through the California divorce process and work out your issues.
Hiring an experienced Los Angeles same-sex lawyer means you’ll have someone to help by:
- Providing honest legal advice throughout the process as we work towards your objectives
- Ensuring that you understand your legal options and are able to make rational and informed decisions
- Helping you and your spouse identify and divide marital property
- Tackling all other applicable issues, including spousal support, child custody, and child support
- Filing all necessary documentation with the Los Angeles County court
- Representing you in court proceedings when necessary
Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, our family law attorneys in Los Angeles can help. Set up a free initial consultation if you have questions or need legal assistance.
What Are the Residency Requirements for an LGBT Divorce in California?
Whether you’re a heterosexual or same-sex couple, many aspects of divorce are the same. For example, California is a no-fault state for divorce, meaning neither spouse has to prove that someone did something wrong to dissolve the marriage.
However, residency requirements may differ. To get a heterosexual divorce in LA, at least one spouse must have lived in California for six months and in Los Angeles County for three months before filing.
A same-sex couple’s divorce doesn’t always have the same requirement. For example, if you married in California but moved to a jurisdiction that doesn’t allow divorces for LGBT couples, you can file in the California county where you married.
Is There a Residency Requirement for Terminating a Domestic Partnership in CA?
If your domestic partnership is registered in California, there are no residency requirements to terminate it. However, if neither partner meets the requirement, your partnership could end, but you may be unable to make crucial decisions regarding children, property, and financial support.
If your domestic partnership isn’t registered in the State of California, you must meet the typical residency requirements.
How Is Property Divided in an LGBT Divorce in Los Angeles, CA?
California is a community property state when it comes to marital property division. When dividing assets, courts will identify the property acquired by both spouses during the marriage (the “community property”). Each spouse owns that property equally (50/50), regardless of whether only one spouse worked or earned income. The same applies to marital debts.
Anything you owned before the marriage or after separation is considered separate property and isn’t subject to division.
The date of separation is the date one spouse informed the other of their intent to end the marital union, and either spouse’s subsequent conduct is consistent with that intent. That may be the date one spouse moved out or the day each spouse mutually agreed to the separation.
Community property can include:
- Wages and income
- Real property (real estate)
- Personal property, like furniture and artwork
- Bank accounts
- Retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and pensions
- Stocks and bonds
- Business interests
- Debts, such as a mortgage or credit card debt
Inheritance or gifts are separate property, even if they were acquired during the marriage. However, there may be exceptions, such as if you commingled inherited funds with marital funds.
You and your spouse can agree to a division of property that isn’t a 50/50 split, as long as it’s fair. However, if you can’t reach an agreement, the judge will implement community property laws.
Also, if applicable, a prenup or postnuptial agreement may dictate various property division issues in your dissolution of marriage.
A Los Angeles divorce attorney will help you gather the financial disclosures and other information needed to divide your community property.
How Are Child Custody and Support Determined in an LGBT Divorce in Los Angeles?
You and your spouse may agree on how to handle child custody and child support issues. The primary objective is to provide your child with a safe, supportive environment and ensure that their needs are met.
Judges will evaluate the best interests of the child when making any decisions regarding their care. The court typically presumes that each parent should continue to have frequent contact with their child after a divorce unless it’s not in their best interests.
However, if issues arise, it’s vital to seek legal advice. For example, custody may become complicated if either spouse is not a biological or adoptive parent.
Child support is awarded based on each parent’s income, how much parenting time they have, and other relevant factors.
Contact an LGBT divorce attorney in Los Angeles to discuss legal custody, physical custody, and child support calculations.
How Do California Courts Award Spousal Support in an LGBT Divorce?
Courts don’t always award spousal support (alimony). It will depend on whether one spouse requires financial support and various other circumstances.
If a Los Angeles County court awards spousal support, the judge will consider numerous factors, including:
- Each spouse’s earning capacity and whether it’s sufficient to maintain their standard of living established during the marital relationship
- The ability of the supporting spouse to pay spousal support
- The duration of the marriage or partnership
- Whether the supported spouse can work without interfering with the care of their children
- Each spouse’s health and age
- Tax consequences
A court will also evaluate whether a spouse contributed to the other spouse in obtaining an education or career. For example, if one spouse stayed home to care for minor children while the other went to school or worked, that will be considered.
Contact an LGBT divorce lawyer in Los Angeles to discuss spousal support and how it may apply to your case.
Do I Have To Go To Court for My LGBT Divorce in Los Angeles?
Not necessarily. If you and your spouse agree on all terms of the divorce, you can draft an agreement and file it along with all other necessary documentation with the court.
Even if you cannot agree on all issues, you can attempt to resolve them in mediation. During this process, an impartial third party will listen to each spouse’s concerns and help them work through their disputes. They won’t make any formal decisions but will help the parties productively discuss legal matters and reach an agreement on their own.
Alternatively, you may choose the collaborative divorce process to avoid court. This process is less formal than presenting a case before a judge. You agree beforehand that you won’t take the matter to court, and you negotiate an agreement with the help of attorneys. A collaborative divorce is essentially a middle ground between mediation and going to court.
When Will My Divorce Become Final in Los Angeles, CA?
Once you’ve filed the necessary documentation with the court, there is a mandatory six-month waiting period before the court finalizes your divorce. In other words, the soonest you can be formally divorced is six months – which cannot be shortened but can be extended.
More specifically, you must wait six months from the date of service (when the non-filing spouse formally receives the divorce paperwork) or the respondent’s date of appearance – whichever occurs first. The date of appearance typically refers to when the non-filing spouse files a response to the petition.
Even if all issues are uncontested, you’ll have to wait six months before a judge will sign off on your divorce. This is known as a cooling-off period.
The idea is to give couples plenty of time to reconcile and dismiss the divorce complaint if they choose to do so. This prevents rash decisions that are made hastily after an argument or disagreement. During this time, you cannot remarry.
Note that just because six months have passed doesn’t mean your marriage automatically ends. The judge must review and sign the documentation before your divorce is final, which may take longer.
Contact Our Los Angeles Same-Sex Divorce Lawyers for a Free Case Evaluation
The divorce process entails significant emotions. At the same time, parties may be unfamiliar with California law and how it applies to their case. An experienced Los Angeles same-sex divorce attorney at Berenji & Associates can explain your legal rights and guide you through the process.
Call our Los Angeles family law office today for a free consultation to see how we can help you with an LGBTQ divorce.