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LGBTQIA+ Divorce Attorney in Sacramento, California 

Divorce presents its own set of issues for every couple no matter what. However, for historically marginalized groups, there are likely other considerations that may need to be factored in. Specifically, those going through an LGBTQIA+ divorce may wish to meet with a same-sex divorce attorney to address some concerns that those in a heterosexual marriage may not be facing. 

If you’d like to speak with a family law attorney and are in the Sacramento, California area, reach out to my firm at the Abdallah Law, A.P.C.. I’m proud to serve individuals and families anywhere in California, including Placer County, San Joaquin County, Eldorado County, Yolo County, Solano County, and Alameda County,  

Considerations in an LGBTQIA+ Divorce  

Although not everyone who’s going through a same-sex divorce will need to make special allowances, there are a few factors you should be aware of. Because same-sex marriage was only legalized nationwide in 2015, many couples traveled to other states before this time that had legalized it or were offering domestic partnerships. If you were married or registered in more than one state, you’ll need to dissolve any official partnership that was created to avoid any legal consequences that may come up.

Additionally, depending on the state in which you formalized your union, there will likely be differences between domestic partnerships and legal marriage. If you were together before same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, you should take the time to review the specific laws regarding your union. 

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Filing Requirements  

Couples are always wondering, “What differences are there between same-sex and heterosexual divorces?” In California, there aren’t too many differences, but it’s worth reviewing the basic process of filing for divorce. For all divorcing couples, at least one spouse has to have lived in the state for at least six months and in the same county for at least three months. You’ll then have to file a petition and summons with the courts. There will likely also be additional paperwork necessary depending on things like property division or child support.  

Custody and Child Support Issues 

If you share children with your spouse, you’ll have to come to an agreement on custody and support. This can be done between the two of you, but if there are disputes, then a judge may have to intervene to decide these matters. For same-sex couples, there are also other considerations. For example, if the child is only the biological child of one parent and the other has not legally adopted the child, the biological parent could exercise their parental rights and seek to bar you from visitation.  

Property Division  

Another issue all divorcing couples will have to contend with is how to separate assets, and this will look different for everyone. Usually, if the couple can agree on a fair division of joint assets, a judge will approve their agreement. But, like all contested issues in a divorce, if the couple cannot decide, then it will be left up to lawyers to negotiate or a judge to decide.  

Central to this issue for same-sex couples is the concept of community property. In California, this means that any property or assets acquired during the marriage by either spouse is considered jointly owned and should be split equally between the spouses. However, if you’ve been together with your spouse for 20 years, but only married since 2015, the time you were together before your wedding may not count toward this community property rule. This could mean that assets you considered jointly owned will not be seen as such in the eyes of the court and you could end up with fewer assets than you deserve if you had been married for longer.  

Alimony Issues  

Lastly, you’ll have to decide whether spousal support in same-sex divorce will apply to you. Spousal support (also called alimony) is not always required in a divorce, but if one spouse earned substantially more than the other, it could be ordered by a judge. This is seen most often when one spouse was a stay-at-home parent and was not earning a traditional income. In this case, the higher-earning spouse would have to make monthly payments (or sometimes a lump sum) to the other for a predetermined amount of time. This is almost always capped and is intended to give the lower-earning spouse time to find employment or obtain additional education so they can earn enough to support themselves. This is often determined by calculating how many years the couple has been married—but if you weren’t allowed to marry before 2015 but were still in a committed relationship, this time may not count in your favor. 

LGBTQIA+ Divorce Attorney in Sacramento, California  

If you’re looking for a divorce attorney who understands the specific needs of the LGBTQIA+ community, contact me at the Abdallah Law, A.P.C.. Located in Sacramento, California, I can represent clients throughout Placer County, San Joaquin County, Eldorado County, Yolo County, Solano County, and Alameda County. Set up a consultation to get started.