The legalization of same-sex marriage has been a wonderful victory for many couples across the United States. Yet the reality is that no marriage is perfect, and many same-sex couples will still need the support of a competent California same-sex divorce attorney. The change in law made it possible for loving same-sex partnerships to be legally recognized and celebrated, but it also introduced the possibility of divorce.

The legalization of same-sex marriages did not introduce same-sex partnerships, as many same-sex partners were in committed, lifetime partnerships before the laws shifted. Same-sex partnerships have existed for centuries, but they are no more perfect than different-sex partnerships. Incongruities, betrayals, and hardships can occur in any marriage, and same-sex couples need just as much support as anyone in the event of a divorce.

What percentage of same-sex marriages end in divorce?

What Percentage of Same-Sex Marriages End in Divorce?

Since same-sex marriage is relatively new, data is still being collected and interpreted. Recent studies have shown same-sex divorce rates to be slightly lower than traditional marriages, with speculations that this may shift when same-sex marriages become a more common occurrence. There are, however, significant differences in the rates of same-sex relationships for men and for women.

The rate of divorce in gay versus lesbian relationships is striking. Gay married men are about half as likely to divorce as lesbian women. It is not yet understood why this difference exists. Some speculate that the change in laws may have caused some couples to get married impulsively and caused an initial spike in divorces, but it remains to be seen how divorce rates may continue to shift.

What Causes Couples to Divorce

While in the past, people may believe that there was no good reason to divorce, today, the majority of people agree that there are a number of valid reasons for a marriage to end. The most obvious ones are where some form of harm is coming to one or both partners, such as cases of domestic violence or abuse. Statistically, here are some of the most common reasons people divorce:

  • Lack of support from family
  • Adultery or infidelity
  • Incompatibility
  • Lack of sexual intimacy
  • High levels of conflict or frequent arguments
  • Financial stressors
  • Lack of commitment

Although there can be a variety of reasons to divorce, within California, the two types of grounds for divorce are irreconcilable differences and permanent legal incapacity to make decisions. Most causes of divorce fall under the category of irreconcilable differences.

Differences in Divorce for Same-Sex Marriages

Many challenges in a loving same-sex relationship are also encountered by those in a loving traditional relationship, but the reality is that experiences still differ. Studies have shown that many same-sex couples have higher satisfaction in the area of intimacy, as well as that many gay couples are generally happier in their relationships than their straight peers.

Same-sex couples may be coming close to having the same rights on paper as different-sex couples, but society can take a long time to shift. Same-sex couples are more likely to lack family support. They are also more likely to struggle to have children. This is especially true as options open to them, like adoption, may be too expensive or biased against them. Same-sex couples are additionally more likely to experience societal pressure and bias.

Why Is Having a Same-Sex Divorce Attorney Helpful?

If you have been in a same-sex marriage and are now dealing with a looming divorce, it is beneficial to have the help of an experienced divorce attorney. While a supportive community is never a guarantee, we at the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey would be honored to support you in this time of transition. Some of the ways an attorney can benefit you include:

  • Help with filing paperwork, avoiding mistakes and unnecessary complications
  • Access to mediation services, which can speed up the process and reduce costs
  • Advocacy, helping you to speak up for your needs
  • Knowledge of court systems, supporting you if your divorce case becomes more complicated than hoped
  • Insight into various areas of family law, including child support and property division.


Q: Which Marriage Has the Highest Divorce Rate?

A: Generally speaking, remarriages have the highest divorce rates. Past studies indicate that around half of all marriages end in divorce, with second and third marriages having higher rates. Marriage and divorce rates fluctuate over time, but same-sex couples, particularly those between men, currently seem to have a slightly lower divorce rate.

Q: What’s the Number One Cause of Divorce?

A: Studies vary, but certainly, one of the top causes of divorce remains infidelity in a relationship. Couples promise to love and remain faithful to each other for life, but if that promise is broken, couples may decide the relationship is irreparable.

Q: Can Same-Sex Couples Get Divorced in California?

A: Yes. Since same-sex marriage is legal in California, same-sex couples are treated the same as other couples under the law. As with other couples, if the same-sex couple has a common-law marriage, divorce may not be possible. Common law marriages are not recognized in California, unless they are done in a different state and then the couple moved to California.

Q: What’s the Number One Cause of Divorce for Same-Sex Couples?

A: Many causes of divorce overlap for same-sex and opposite-sex couples, but one risk factor for same-sex couples is a lack of family support and outside pressure in the relationship. While culture is shifting to a more positive view of same-sex relationships, same-sex partners may find themselves divorcing in part due to family or societal influences.

Q: Can You Get a Divorce Without Your Spouse’s Consent in California?

A: Divorces can take place even if one partner does not agree with the divorce. They cannot take place without both partners being aware of the divorce and coming to an agreed-upon legal settlement, however. If your spouse is refusing to file paperwork or cooperate with legal necessities, it may be wise to hire a divorce attorney.

Finding a Divorce Attorney Who Will Advocate for You

Navigating a divorce is strenuous, time-consuming, and full of difficult questions and emotions. No matter how quickly or amicably a marriage ends, it is still the death of a dream. The Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey have over 30 years of experience, as well as the compassion to walk with you through your divorce.

If you need competent, caring legal support, please reach out to us today.