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What are the requirements for same-sex divorce in California?

With the significant variations in the laws related to same-sex marriage and divorce in different states, couples that are considering a same-sex divorce may be unsure of their rights, along with the legal requirements of such action. California residents have to meet certain residency requirements to be able to file for divorce. The requirements are the same for traditional and same-sex divorce applications.

To meet these requirements, one or both of the spouses must have been residing in California for the most recent six months, including three months in the county where the divorce will be filed. Many same-sex couples whose legal marriage took place in California have since relocated to states where same-sex divorce is still not allowed. To accommodate couples that are facing this dilemma, California allows an exception to the residency requirements.

Same-sex couples that are residing in other states may disregard the residency requirements, but they have to file for divorce in the California county where their marriage took place. If it is a complicated divorce that involves issues such as partner or child support, property division or debt, legal advice may be required. If both partners are residents of other states prior to the divorce filing, the court might only dissolve the marriage without being able to rule on other matters.

Marital problems may develop in any marriage -- heterosexual or same-sex -- and in order to protect the rights of both spouses in a same-sex marriage, a comprehensive knowledge of the legal requirements of a same-sex divorce is essential. In cases where it is no longer possible for a couple to communicate in a way that will allow them to resolve issues, the services of a mediator may be beneficial. Such guidance may afford a couple the means to dissolve their marriage amicably and make the transition to single life with minimum stress.

Source:, "Options to End Marriage or Domestic Partnership", , Sept. 12, 2014

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
5303 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone: 916-905-4805
Fax: 916-498-0127
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