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Potential divorce challenges for same-sex couples in California

No matter what kind of marriage you have, parting ways with the person with who you built your life can be extremely difficult. When it comes to same-sex couples who are going through this experience, there can be even more worries.

Although California has a long history of recognizing same-sex relationships, there can still be gray legal areas depending on individual situations. For example, if you share young children or retirement assets, there can be many unclear processes to navigate.

Establishing child custody

Although child custody legal complexities are usually more prevalent between unmarried same-sex couples, there can still be numerous issues that may arise. For example, adoptions by only one spouse or step-parent situations can create complexities.

Determining marriage duration

For property division purposes, the length of your marriage matters because it determines what is “separate” and what is “community.” In addition, alimony payments also rely on this information. For couples who cohabited for many years before marriage equality passed, it may raise more questions.

Distributing retirement benefits

According to the United States Internal Revenue Service, divorcing same-sex couples may also need to take further action to divide retirement funds. This is because some individuals have a retirement plan that contains language which is now inconsistent with federal law.

Accessing documents

Sometimes, same-sex couples also face challenges when trying to access documents like employment information or records for shared accounts. Under the law, companies must treat same-sex spouses the same way that they treat heterosexual spouses, but difficulties nonetheless remain.

While family law processes surrounding same-sex marriage still continue to evolve, understanding potential challenges can help you better prepare for the road ahead.



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