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Financial complications of same-sex divorce

Divorce can be devastating emotionally and mentally. For some couples, it can also be financially ruining. Just as marriage equality has spread across the nation, divorce equality has too, making these devastating impacts felt equally by same-sex spouses as they have for heterosexual spouses. However, for same-sex couples, the approach taken to financial decision-making in divorce may be complicated for contributions made before the Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling. 

Family court's often base financial decision-making during divorce on factors like the length of a marriage, contributions by spouses and separate or co-mingled property. These factors, since the 2015 equality ruling are relatively easy to interpret. Unfortunately, these factors as they relate to a couple's relationship before the ruling may be left to interpretation.

Same-sex spouses may run into a bit of a challenge during divorce when determining financial and nonfinancial contributions. The timeline set by the Supreme Court's ruling as to when same-sex marriage was considered equal, may make it difficult in determining what portion of their contributions and property are legally considered marital.

As time goes on, we may better understand how certain factors of same-sex relationships will play out in divorce court. Until a solid foundation for equality in divorce has been established, it is crucial for spouses in a same-sex marriage to address all aspects of financial planning during their marriage. Although no one hopes or plans for divorce, preparing for the worst can give same-sex spouses the upper hand when it comes the law lagging behind interpretation. 

Although it is the majority's hope that divorce equality will prevail, it may take time and experience for it to do so. Even before divorce is looming, same-sex couples may wish to speak to an attorney about drafting a premarital agreement or other contract to address these issues. With their help, same-sex couples may enter into a marriage or continue down the road of matrimony knowing they are equal in marriage as well as divorce.

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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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