With the progression of marriage equality, divorce is effectively the same for everyone in California.
Nonetheless, unique considerations for same-sex couples may remain depending on the parties' circumstances.
Prenups Before Marriage or Domestic Partnership
Entering into a marriage means submitting to the community property and support laws of California.
Many couples prefer instead to make their own rules and choose to enter into Premarital Agreements and Pre-domestic partnership agreements instead.
Domestic Partnerships are still not treated exactly like marriages under Federal law and the IRS tax code.
Sawyer Mediation stays current with this frequently-evolving area of the law and the options available to Domestic Partners.
Not sure about marriage?
You are not alone.
For decades, many same-sex couples have been authoring their own destinies with contracts commonly known as "cohabitation agreements."
Stay Out of Court
Mediation is a process in which a neutral mediator helps two people resolve a dispute outside of Court.
Mediation a divorce or Domestic Partnership dissolution is usually much cheaper than going to trial.
Mediation is done on your schedule and is generally much faster than the litigation process.
Mediation is private and confidential and usually prevents parties from ever having to appear in Court.
Same-Sex Dissolutions After the 2013 Perry and Windsor Cases
The US Supreme Court confers all marital rights and obligations on same-sex married parties in states that recognize same-sex marriage -- including California -- leaving no difference between same-sex and opposite sex marriages or divorces for Californians.
The Internal Revenue Service recognizes same-sex marriages as valid marriages in states that recognize same-sex marriage, such as California.
Same-sex couples validly married in other jurisdictions may get divorced in California if they have lived in California long enough to satisfy California's divorce residency requirement.
Same-sex couples who married validly in California but who now live in a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriages can be divorced in California even without meeting the California residence requirements.
The State of California confers all STATE rights and obligations of married parties to domestic partners.
The new US Supreme Court rulings in 2013 do not turn domestic partners into spouses.
Domestic Partnerships are not recognized as valid marriages under FEDERAL Law. We are following the evolution of this issue.
Domestic Partnerships are also not recognized as marriages under the IRS tax code. As such, the tax consequences of spousal support payments and the transfer of retirement assets may require unique consideration for parties dissolving a domestic partnership.
Parties who have BOTH a marriage and a domestic partnership may dissolve them both at the same time in California.
"I found Chris to be very informed when it comes to same-sex marriages and dissolution of such marriages and the laws that define them. He and his staff deliver cutting edge work that is unlike anything else you can find."
- FORMER CLIENT
"Chris did an incredible job of making a very difficult situation much, much easier."
- FORMER CLIENT
"... fair and compassionate to both parties..."
- FORMER CLIENT
These testimonials or endorsements do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. California Rule of Professional Conduct,
Rule 1-400 (E)
Chris Sawyer is the owner and principal of Sawyer Mediation. Prior to focussing exclusively on mediation, Chris litigated family law matters in San Francisco and the Silicon Valley.
Larissa Chernock joined Sawyer Mediation in 2012. Larissa has extensive experience in mediating complex family law matters and agreements.