Bill Addresses Problems of Same Sex Divorce

Commentary by Boyce Hinman
AB 2700 has been introduced in the state legislator and is designed to ease the process of legally ending the relationships of registered domestic partners, and married same sex couples, in California. Sadly, sometimes this is necessary.

Here is why this bill is important. According to the Williams Institute, of the UCLA Law School, roughly 18,000 same sex couples got married legally in California between June 17, 2008 and when Proposition 8, which bans the recognition of such marriages, was passed on Election Day that year. Under a later ruling by the California Supreme Court, those marriages remain legal, and recognized under California law.

However, many of those 18,000 people were registered domestic partners before they married, and most of them probably did not terminate their domestic partnerships before they married. And that was perfectly legal.

However, inevitably, some of those marriages will not work out and the people in them will want to legally end those marriages. If the couples who end their marriages are also registered domestic partners, they must go through a legal process to legally end the domestic partnership as well. Until and unless they end both relationships, neither of them can marry anyone else or even register as domestic partners with anyone else.

To end a marriage, in almost all cases, it is necessary to go through a fairly complicated, expensive process in County Superior Court.  The only exception is in the case of uncontested divorces with very little assets involved. The same requirements are applicable to ending a registered domestic partnership.

Current California law does not provide one process for terminating both marriage and domestic partnership. Thus, it would be necessary for couples, who are both married and registered domestic partners, to go through two complicated expensive processes to legally end their relationship.

AB 2700 provides a remedy for this problem. It would authorize parties to a registered domestic partnership, who are also married to one another, to petition the court to dissolve both their domestic partnership status and their marriage status in a single proceeding.  Please know that if you are considering ending either a marriage or a registered domestic partnership you should consult an attorney.

You can watch the progress of this bill, and 13 other LGBTI relevant state bills, by directing your browser to the following address: www.calcomui.org and then clicking on “LGBTI Issues” on the left side of the resulting page. Finally, click on “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Legislation Addressed by CalComUI”. This link will be found on the right side of the page.

Boyce Hinman is the founder of California Communities United Institute. He can be reached at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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