Representing a Client in Same- or Mixed-Gender Marriages, Couples or Partnerships
Supporting same-gender couples in domestic partnership or marital-dissolution issues
Initially, the right to marry was denied to same-gender couples in California, except for 18,000 couples who married in 2008. California laws continued to recognize and allow registered domestic partnerships and then began allowing couples, whether mixed or same gender, to have the same marital rights and obligations, including dissolving marriages through the usual process available through the state’s court system. Then, federal law recognition followed. Our firm’s attorneys are available to advise you about how to protect yourself and your partner during your relationship, whether in a domestic partnership or in a marriage.
If you are ending your domestic partnership or marriage, we will guide you through the process of asset division, child custody, visitation and support and partner or spousal support. Alan R. Silverman can advise you about taking important steps to protect yourself and your partner during your relationship, guiding you through the process of asset division, child custody, child visitation, and partner support.
Legal protections for same-gender or mixed-gender partners
Various tools are available to protect your interests in property, healthcare and child-rearing, such as:
- Pre-partnership agreements – You can protect your rights to your separate property, should your relationship end, by entering into a partnership contract similar to a prenuptial agreement.
- Advance directives — If you are seriously injured in a state that does not recognize your relationship, discriminatory laws may prevent your spouse from visiting you and making crucial end-of-life decisions unless your advance directives clearly express your wishes.
- Estate planning — A thorough estate plan can preserve rights to your property for your partner and minimize death-tax obligations.
California’s child-custody laws
Both partners are considered the legal parents of a child born during your legal domestic partnership; you each have rights to custody and visitation and you both share the obligation of financially supporting the children, even if one of you is not a biological parent. As a precaution, you may consider obtaining a third-party adoption decree or judgment of parentage to safeguard your parental rights. During dissolution proceedings, the Court orders child support and parenting plans as for any dissolution involving children.
Mediation and collaborative methods for ending a domestic partnership
When your relationship dissolves, you face many of the same issues as married couples involved in complex divorces. We may encourage you to engage in mediation or collaborative methods (ADR) to reach an agreement on the division of assets, child custody and support issues if alternative dispute resolution is feasible in resolving your issues. We studied mediation at the prestigious Pepperdine University School of Law, Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution, in Malibu, CA, and studied and have experience in collaborative techniques. Alan R. Silverman can act as a neutral mediator who guides you and your partner toward an equitable agreement, or we can represent you during the mediation or collaborative law process and your partner participates by retaining his or her own counsel.
Learn about domestic partnership registration and dissolution issues from us
To learn how our law firm helps same- or mixed-gender couples with child-custody, property and support matters, call Silverman Family Law, APC, at 760-512-3251 or contact us online to schedule your free initial telephone consultation.
Silverman Family Law, APC, located in Carlsbad, California, serves clients in and around Carlsbad, San Diego, Oceanside, Vista, Escondido, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, La Jolla, Mira Mesa, Poway, Rancho Bernardo, San Marcos and all North County San Diego.