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In San Francisco, Attorneys For Gay And Lesbian Couples Say They Will Appeal To California Supreme Court Regarding Whether Same-Sex Couples Have The Right To Marry

The deadline is today, November 14, for the plaintiffs’ attorneys to file their appeal with the California Supreme Court over the issue of whether or not same-sex couples have the right to get married. Several lawsuits have been filed by gay and lesbian couples as well as the city of San Francisco on this matter.

Last week, the Court of Appeal in San Francisco issued an order saying it would not reconsider its ruling from last month by its panel (in a 2-1 vote) upholding state law, which stipulates that a couple have to be a man and a woman in order to get married-although the panel had agreed that gay and lesbian couples had the right to the same benefits as married couples under California’s domestic partnership system. The court’s ruling had overturned the decision by San Francisco Superior Court that had ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and their right to marry.

While same-sex couples are not currently allowed to get married, in California, they have the right to register their domestic partnership as long as they meet the requirements of Family code Section 297:

· Both partners must reside together.
· Neither must be married to someone of the opposite sex or in another domestic partnership that has not been terminated or dissolved.
· Both partners cannot be related to one another.
· Both partners must be 18 years of age or older.
· Both partners are members of the same sex or at least one partner must be 62 years of age or older.
· Both partners agree to the domestic partnership.
· Both partners agree that the Superior Court of California has jurisdiction over the termination of this partnership.

For a couple wishing to terminate their domestic partnership, here are the main differences between dissolving a domestic partnership and filing for divorce (by a married couple):

· Residency – Domestic partners who have registered in California have agreed to the jurisdiction of the California courts to end their domestic partnerships – even if they move away or have never lived in California.
· If couples have become domestic partners (or their equivalent) in other states, they can file in California to end their domestic partnership if at least one of them is living in California. To file for a divorce, one party will have had to live in California for at least 6 months; this person must also have lived in the county where the divorce is filed for at least 3 months before filing. To file for legal separation or annulment, they can file as soon as they’ve moved to California.
· Partner support – unlike spousal support, generally, it will probably not be taxable to the person receiving and tax deductible for the person paying.
· The law allowing for domestic partners to obtain dissolutions, legal separations, and annulments is new. There are many things that are still uncertain regarding property, custody and tax issues. It is important to talk to an attorney who is knowledgeable about the law in this area. A couple in a domestic partnership that meets certain requirements can also file for summary dissolution.

Sagaria Law, P.C. represents clients in Monterey County, Alameda County, and Santa Clara County who wish to file for divorce or terminate their domestic partnership, as well as clients who need representation in other family law-related matters. We have offices in Fremont, Monterey, and San Jose, and you can contact us online or call us at 1-800-941-6730 for a free consultation. Contact Sagaria Law, P.C. now.

Same-Sex Marriage Case Moves To California Supreme Court, Fog City, November 7, 2006
City Leaders React To Same-Sex Marriage Ruling, Fog City, October 5, 2006
Ending A Domestic Partnership – Divorce, Legal Separation, & Annulment Overview, California Courts: Self-Help Center
Declaration of Domestic Partnership

Related Web Resources:

Family Code, Section 297-297.5

Terminating a California Registered Domestic Partnership (PDF)