The past several decades have been roller coaster of ups and downs for LGBTQ marriage, divorce, and domestic partnership. From legality, to illegality, to separate and not equal, to indistinguishable.

As it stands today it is possible to be both married and to have a registered domestic partnership simultaneously. California law specifically states that these two relationships are entirely equal as far the state is concerned. In fact, if you get divorced in California now the Petition for Dissolution will be now structured to dissolve both a marriage and domestic partnership simultaneously.

So, at a glance it would seem that we might have arrived at the final evolution of equality in all family legal proceedings for the gay, lesbian, bi and trans couples. However, while California may have done a decent job of untangling the Gordian knot of legal rights, the federal government and other states have been less than successful and these failures can be felt here in the golden state.

Domestic Partnerships in particular seem to pose a considerable problem. The IRS for example seems to have continued its longtime stance that domestic partnerships do not confer equal benefits to marriage despite Supreme Court decisions for Marriage equality (see Obergefell v. Hodges) . Other states, such as New Jersey, have been determined by the state of California of issuing domestic partnerships that essentially a form of second class marriage and so was not a recognized partnership under California law (See In re Marriage of G.C. & R.W. (2018) 232 Cal.Rptr.3d 484).

So, even though we have certainly come along way with gay lesbian and same sex issues, there appears to be some way yet to travel. Jones & Devoy has been proud to stay on the forefront of same sex law during this period of constant evolution. If you might be facing such an issue contact San Francisco based bay area office for a consultation.