Requirements for Filing Same-Sex Divorce in California

We’ve seen historic changes in the divorce laws in California over the past couple of years to accommodate the growing recognition of same-sex marriages. Ending a marriage or a domestic process can be accomplished without having to prove fault on the part of either of the parties. A divorce may be granted simply by claiming the existence of irreconcilable differences.

Hand holding wedding ringSame-sex Marriage and Registered Domestic Partnerships

Santa Ana couples have the right, under California law, to become a registered domestic partnership. When same-sex marriages were legalized in the state, couples in registered domestic partnerships had the option of continuing in that relationship without getting married or marry without disturbing the domestic partnership. This protected them if they relocated to states where same-sex marriages might not be recognized.

For divorce purposes, domestic partners who registered their partnership in California do not have to meet a residency requirement to obtain the dissolution of their relationship. At least one spouse in a marriage must have resided in the state for at least six months and in the county in which the divorce is filed for at least three months.

Female couple sitting facing awaySpecial Consideration Given To Couples Who Leave California

We are a mobile society, but as of June 2015, there are states that do not recognize same-sex marriage. Couples who move after being married in California might not be able to obtain a divorce in the state in which they reside. For those same-sex couples who want to dissolve their marriage, California waives the residency requirements.

Other Issues Arising in a Same-Sex Divorce

Orange County judges will address issues related to a couple’s relationship in a divorce proceeding. Some of the issues that might arise include:

Child custody, support, and visitation
• Support for a spouse or domestic partner
• Division of property and assets
• Allocation of the payment of debts

Couples can avoid conflict by reaching an agreement on these and other issues before submitting the case to a judge.


If you have questions regarding your same-sex marriage and would like more information, contact The Law Offices of William Strachan at (714) 841-1931.