LGBT Community 2018-03-16T20:30:05+00:00

LGBT Community

Over the past few years, a lot of ground has been made in relation to laws benefiting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, all of which have led to a landmark decision in June, 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled that gay and lesbian couples nationwide had the right to marriage, thereby requiring all 50 states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

King Law Firm Attorneys at Law, Inc. respects all lifestyles and seeks to help everyone without prejudice. In that regard, we want to provide the LGBT community a place they can feel comfortable seeking help in building and sustaining a family. We are open to answering all questions regarding same-sex marriage, divorce, domestic partnerships and summery dissolution, and assisting gay and lesbian men and women in any way we can.

Marriage

California has been one of the main leaders in same-sex marriage. Generally speaking, the legal requirements for same-sex marriage in California are the same as any other marriage. Contact King Law Firm Attorneys at Law, Inc. if you have any questions regarding your marriage license, marriage certificate or if you feel you are being discriminated against in any way.

Divorce

Like marriages in California, divorce proceedings for same-sex couples will generally follow the same guidelines as any other divorce. See Divorce Law for more information.

Domestic Partnership

Just because the Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is legal across the nation doesn’t necessarily mean you are required to get married. Many couples, including straight men and women, still prefer domestic partnerships over marriage.

Domestic partners are defined as two people who live together as cohabitants but are not legally married. California law defines it as “two adults who have chosen to share one another’s lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring.” Although domestic partners are not legally married, they are still privileged with similar rights, responsibilities and benefits.

To establish a domestic partnership in California, you will need to file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State.

Some of the requirements that must be filed prior to being eligible for domestic partnerships include:

  • Sharing the same residence.
  • Being unmarried and not sharing in any other domestic partnership.
  • Not being of blood relation.
  • Being at least 18 years of age.

Summary Dissolution

In some ways, domestic partnerships can be a lot easier to have dissolved than a legal marriage. Known as a summary dissolution, you can end your partnership without having to go to court. However, because summary dissolution is still considered a divorce (as opposed to a legal separation), not every domestic partnership qualifies, so it is in your best interest to speak with a lawyer before beginning the process.

To qualify for summary dissolution, both partners must meet the following requirements:

  • You want to terminate the domestic partnership.
  • You have not been registered as domestic partners for more than 5 years.
  • You have no children together, born or adopted, before or during the domestic partnership.
  • You do not own or rent any part of land or buildings (except for the property you currently live).
  • You do not owe more than $6,000 in debts acquired during the domestic partnership (excluding car loans) and have less than $41,000 worth of property acquired during the domestic partnership (excluding car loans).
  • You agree that neither partner is seeking partner support.
  • You have signed a document for division of assets and debts, or have declared the lack of any assets or debts.

If you qualify, you must read the California Secretary of State’s brochure, “Terminating a California Registered Domestic Partnership,” and swear under penalty of perjury that you have read and understood its contents. After you have done so, you will file a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership — which must be signed by both parties and notarized — and a property agreement or declaration of no property, both of which will be sent to the California Secretary of State. The best way to guarantee everything meets California law is to have a lawyer review your paperwork.

After six months, you will be officially divorced and can enter into a new domestic partnership. During this six months, if for any reason one of the partners decides not to get the summary dissolution, he or she must file a Revocation of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State and send a copy of such to their partner. In this case, you may no longer be able to get a divorce via summery dissolution. Instead, you must go through normal divorce proceedings.

Adoption

Though the adoption process is basically the same for the LGBT community as it is for all other people who desire to adopt, there is still an overwhelming mindset across the nation that a nuclear family (one in which contains a mother and a father) is still ideal for raising a child. But that mindset seems to be changing quickly, as openly gay and lesbian men and women are being considered more seriously as adoptive parents, mostly due to the increase in gay and lesbian biological parents.

Success in adoption, especially from the child welfare system, mostly depends on the state adoption laws and the personal attitudes of the adoption agencies themselves. In California, discrimination against prospective gay and lesbian parents is illegal, thus an agency cannot reject anyone based on sexual orientation. That of course doesn’t mean that a social worker won’t find other reasons to find prospective parents to be unsuitable if their beliefs contradict the laws.

Whether you are participating in a public, private, independent, open or international adoption, consideration must be taken when deciding if sexual orientation can or must be disclosed. This can be based on the prospective parent’s personal feelings on disclosure, whether or not direct questions about sexual orientation are asked, or what state laws dictate. Be careful to remember that there’s a difference between non-disclosure of private information and deliberately lying during the adoption process. Though it is legal to omit information regarding sexual orientation, it’s illegal, and considered fraud, to lie about anything if confronted with a question directly.

King Law Firm Attorneys at Law, Inc. is here to offer gay and lesbian men and women legal advice for all of your marriage, divorce, domestic partnership and adoption matters. Contact us to set up a consultation.

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