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Zwierzchowski & Nguyen

Free Initial Consultation: 562-426-6522

Same-Sex Divorce Attorneys in Long Beach, CA

In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergfell v. Hodges ruled that all people, including same-sex, have a fundamental right to marry. As a result, all 50 states now allow marriage licenses to be issued to same-sex couples under the same rights and obligations marriage bestows on opposite-sex individuals. In California, same-sex couples could legally marry since 2008 (although not between November 5, 2008, through June 27, 2013, when the legal battles occurred).

With same-sex marriage, came the same-sex divorce in Long Beach, CA. The Long Beach, CA same divorce laws apply to same-sex couples, however, the dynamics and the issues are different. Many divorcing couples have been together for much longer than the duration of their legal marriages. Many have domestic partnerships and cohabitation periods. So, property rights and support obligations go far beyond marital unions and are therefore much harder to establish in some cases. Parental rights are not clear cut either and often become tools in exerting control and power during the process of the legal split. People’s emotions are complex as well. Grief, shame, anger, betrayal, depression, and devastation are coupled with emotions related to internalized homophobia.

Dissolution of Marriage/Termination of Domestic Partnership in Long Beach, CA

Many divorcing same-sex couples need to terminate their domestic partnerships as well as their marriage. The court can dissolve both pursuant to the same petition. If parties settle in mediation, their stipulated judgment terminates both, marriage and domestic partnership.

If a couple has been together for 5 years or less, jointly want to terminate their domestic partnership, have no children, and have very limited property/debt, as well as, meet other requirements (all requirements for filing a Notice of Termination of DP), they can end their domestic partnership by filing a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State.

Property Division Law in Long Beach, CA

All property acquired during the same-sex marriage and domestic partnership is considered community property unless excluded by a prenuptial/post-nuptial agreement or traced to separate property funds. In other words, same community property laws apply to same-sex couples in Long Beach, CA. The difficulty arises when the property was acquired during a period of cohabitation only. Any such property if to be divided by way of litigation must be divided in a civil court called a Marvin-type case.

Parentage 

LGBTQ individuals, who have children, must think not only about what diapers to choose or whether to breastfeed/chest feed or not. LGBTQ families must secure their legal rights as parents. Non-biological parents are strongly encouraged to seek either a stepparent adoption or a parentage judgment (whether you are married or not; in a domestic partnership or not). The law says that any child born into a marriage or domestic partnership is the legal child of both spouses/domestic partners. In a divorce or termination of domestic partnership, the law further presumes that the children are automatically considered the children of the marriage/DP for purposes of custody and visitation decisions. Nonetheless, couples who have children are strongly encouraged to seek either a stepparent adoption or judgment of parentage.

Stepparent Adoption in Long Beach, CA

This legal option is for non-biological parents to adopt their children thus forming a legal parent-child relationship. In most cases, the process is streamlined for same-sex parents, in which there is no investigation by a social worker and no court hearing. Once the paperwork is completed and the consent of the biological parent obtained, the case is filed with the court and usually, the certification of family creation is mailed after 30-90 days from the date of filing. All stepparent adoptions are handled on a flat-fee basis. Please call for rates.

In some cases, however, the court may order an investigation and a hearing depending on the facts.

In cases where no consent may be obtained, termination of parental rights may be an option.

Contact our experienced Same-Sex Divorce Lawyers in Long Beach, CA for a free consultation at (562) 426-6522.

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