Divorce can be a very difficult and emotionally taxing event for any couple. A marriage becomes the bedrock of one’s life. It serves as the foundation for your family, your home, and your plans for your life in the future. 

Most of your friends and originating family will also have become friends with your spouse. It is no wonder divorce can feel so devastating. When facing a divorce, your whole life may feel like it is falling apart. Unfortunately, in some cases, same-sex couples may encounter additional challenges before life returns to normal.

Sometimes, the divorce process can be especially trying for same-sex couples. Same-sex marriage is widely accepted across the country today and legally protected in all 50 states. Although legal protections and cultural acceptance of same-sex marriage are at a different place today than in the past, unexpected hurdles can still exist. And there are still some challenges unique to same-sex divorce in California. 

Ensuring you understand how to navigate the potential difficulties of same-sex divorce in California and have access to experienced legal advice will help provide the best outcome for you and your family. 

Finding a reputable family lawyer for divorce is crucial to navigating the same-sex divorce process and its various legal nuances. The law offices of Leon Bennett can provide expert help and guidance during the divorce process.


Parental Rights

Couples of the opposite sex often have no trouble establishing parental rights. This is because California can, by default, recognize the husband as the father of any child born during a couple’s marriage. 

This presumption may not apply to same-sex couples unless parentage has been legally established beforehand. It should also be noted that, in many cases, section 7540 will apply to parentage.  

Section 7540 of the California Family Code states that a child of spouses who were cohabited at the time of the child’s conception and birth is conclusively the child of that marriage. However, in cases where this does not apply, it is important to consider the implications.

If parentage was never established, or if motherhood or fatherhood was only established by one party, legal discussions pertaining to custody and visitation may be biased toward one party. Ideally, legal parentage should already be established through the help of a same sex divorce attorney prior to addressing these matters in the case of a divorce. 

Using the services of a family law attorney to establish legal parentage upon initial reception or birth of the child can also go a long way toward avoiding problems over custody in the future. 

However, no one expects to get a divorce when they get married. Unforeseen problems and complications can occur when a relationship unexpectedly begins to drift apart. 

However, sometimes clarifying parentage or future custody among a married couple is mistakenly seen as “planning for divorce” or failure. In reality, more pragmatic thinking and legal planning often save significant grief and money and, most importantly, protect the child in the long run.

The divorce process can be extremely hard on family members, especially children. Divorce-related stress and turmoil can seriously impact one’s physical health and emotional well-being. Conflict and toxic behavior between separating spouses can lead to children becoming caught up in the drama. 

Unfortunately, sometimes disputes over the terms of divorce do spill over into the parent’s relationships with their children. Long and drawn-out court proceedings or unhelpful attorneys who unnecessarily antagonize the other spouse can exacerbate such problems.

Given these potential factors and the potential for conflict to affect children, it is important to consider if getting help from an experienced Woodland Hills divorce lawyer to serve as a divorce mediator could benefit your situation. We will discuss divorce mediation more later on.

same sex divorce attorney Los Angeles

It’s important to understand the nuances of same sex divorce litigation.

Duration of Marriage

In California, the length of your marriage is important for a couple of reasons. The duration of a marriage is used to determine conditions of alimony and what is deemed individual and community property. For example, a longer duration of marriage can be used to justify an increase in alimony obligations. Determining the length of marriage can be a gray area for same-sex couples who cohabitate prior to being able to get legally married. 

For some couples, the duration of marriage does not enter this gray area and remains clear. However, couples who lived together for a substantial period prior to being allowed to become legally married may receive different alimony considerations toward a longer length of marriage. 

Furthermore, other considerations, such as whether or not bank accounts were shared or agreements existed indicating the nature of the partnership before legal marriage, may play a role in determining the length of marriage in such cases.

In these cases, it can be common for issues to arise regarding alimony and the splitting of community property based on the duration of the marriage. 


Access to Records Information

Despite protections for gay and lesbian spouses resulting from Hollingsworth v. Perry and Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex couples continue to face challenges in everyday aspects. For example, in some circumstances, same-sex spouses may have trouble accessing employment info and records during divorce proceedings. 

Despite California companies being lawfully required to treat same-sex spouses equally, such information may be sealed if a spouse fails to disclose the relationship. Consequently, additional barriers sometimes need to be overcome to process a divorce effectively.


The Benefits of Divorce Mediation Over a Contested Divorce

Many of the issues that come up in the divorce process arise from spouses being unable to agree on the terms of the divorce. This disagreement typically leads to a contested divorce and further litigation, making the benefits of finding a competent divorce family lawyer to help with divorce mediation in Los Angeles more apparent. 

Divorce mediation or collaborative mediation serves as an alternative to conventional divorce processes that require the involvement of a court to finalize agreements. 

The fastest and most seamless way to settle a divorce case is via mediation. In contrast to the drawn-out and often higher-conflict divorces more typical when the courts are involved, divorce mediation utilizes a neutral third party to help former spouses come to a mutual agreement. 

Coming to a mediated agreement does not require longer court sessions and typically leads to a more amicable settlement. Professional legal help with years of experience in same sex divorce mediation is available if you are seeking a Los Angeles divorce mediation case.

Divorce mediation is a common process where a neutral mediator helps spouses reach an agreement or compromise regarding the terms of their divorce. The mediator facilitates conversation and identifies areas of agreement and disagreement and where each party may be willing to compromise. A mediator’s primary objective is to reach a mutually acceptable settlement for both parties. 

child custody in same sex divorce

Learn the laws of child custody in the case of a same sex divorce mediation.

How to Protect Yourself in a Divorce?

Divorce is rarely a simple process and can be especially complicated for same-sex couples. The best way to protect yourself and your family during divorce is to seek the help of a reputable, experienced, and effective divorce family lawyer who has years of experience working with people who have been in circumstances similar to your own. 

The law offices of Leon F. Bennett are a highly regarded family law attorney group in Southern California and will proudly represent you and your loved ones.