Split

I’ve been intrigued by some of the fallout over gay divorces lately. I surmised as we reached for equality many would brush aside or not even realize what that equal footing really meant. Now we see the down side of it, in other words divorce.

Many rushed forward to say those wonderful two words w/o truly considering what it meant. Sadly, some are discovering the unpleasant down side now. Gone are the days of DPs that can be dissolved with a simple signature on the dotted line. Welcome to the bitter brawls over assets and custody of children and pets. You no longer have the luxury of just splitting up and going opposite directions anymore. And I won’t even comment on the indignant outrage many have expressed over it. Welcome to true equality. It’s called community property because that’s how the divorce court sees it. okuuur?

And don’t get me wrong, I support our right to get married 100%. That will never change. Being equal under the law is a fundamental right. The fact we are still fighting for it in many states is an embarrassment to humanity. But now that we are finally obtaining that goal, we must take stock in what that truly means. We cannot be special but equal, only equal.

I’ve always been a big believer in levels of commitment in the legal form. And I think this is true of straight couples as well. Start out with a DP which bestows next of kin rights to your partner w/o necessarily committing to communal assets/debt. This gives you both time to test the waters to see if this is for the long haul. Then when you really think it will survive, go for the full enchilada of Marriage. To me, that would make total sense but I am not sure that will happen.

I think what will happen is you will see many cities and states do away completely with DP registries. We, like straights, will have two options, single or married. California so far hasn’t done anything. Living in SF, I currently have three options. City DP, State DP, or Marriage. The city DP gives you insurance and next of kin rights but requires no communal property. The State DP gives you pretty much the rights of marriage including communal property. The State DP also gave you joint filing on your State income taxes. Now that Marriage is legal once again in Cali, there may be no real need for the State DP anymore. The only difference I could see is if you didn’t want federal recognition, then it would be of benefit.

There has been some talk at the City level of doing away with the local DP registry. It hasn’t come to fruition yet but it would not surprise me. I hope that they don’t though. I hope they keep them separate to continue to give people a choice. Like many things in life, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

Regardless of whatever your options are in your city, town, or state, take the time to really think things thru. Do a little googling and educate yourself. Gay or straight, asking for a pre-nup doesn’t mean your love or commitment is any less real. It does mean that you are taking a precaution in case things don’t end with a happy ever after. Fairy tales were meant to inspire not to delude. Being in love is a wonderful feeling1, but don’t let it overwhelm your decision making skills. And for the record, you can dissolve a pre-nup at anytime you wish. You can even build a time-limit clause into it.

And to answer your burning question, no the Pup and I are not at that stage yet. I certainly hope the day will come but we aren’t there yet. He pretty much owns me anyway but that’s a whole other type of contract. hehehe

  1. don’t I know it! []

3 thoughts on “Split”

  1. For what it’s worth, in many places you can have separate property while being married. In fact, in some cases, it’s the default.

    For instance, in Louisiana, any asset you own prior to a marriage remains your separate property. What the civil code calls the fruits of that property – any sort of revenue – is community property, unless you agree (and in writing) that the fruits of separate property shall remain separate. Ordinary income is community property absent an agreement to the contrary, as well.

    California tends to be on the cutting edge of changes to things like this – it was the first state to recognize “palimony”, for instance. But that tends to obscure the fact (for Californians) that things aren’t the same in every state. (Not that I mean that as a criticism; it just doesn’t occur to many people.)

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