Three Issues Facing LGBTQ+ Community in California Family Law

“Rainbow” families often are subject to specific issues in divorce and child custody cases

Veteran California family lawyer Alphonse Provinziano outlines how LGBTQ+ families face specific issues in divorce and child custody cases, even in a state like California which has progressive family laws, often serving as a model for other states nationwide.

Provinziano, whose law firm recently launched a new section of its website dedicated to “rainbow families,” said that family law is a particularly difficult subject because laws do not always reflect the reality of today’s households.

“Laws around marriage and child custody have not always been updated in other states, which can cause complications if one parent lives across state lines,” said Provinziano. “Parents aren’t always automatically recognized, especially when adoption, surrogacy or in-vitro fertilization are involved, which can complicate child custody fights.”

Provinziano noted how there can be other complications. Litigation can require prior name disclosure, which could unintentionally “out” a transgender person, while legal proceedings may lead judges or other court officials to deadname or misgender someone, which can add to the distress of already stressful legal situations.

He added that members of the LGBTQ+ community are also at risk in domestic violence situations where they could face difficulty getting help from social services agencies or abuse from a partner who is angry about a gender transition or decision to disclose their sexual orientation. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that 61 percent of bisexual women have experienced physical or sexual violence.

“If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community with a difficult family law situation, you deserve a law firm that is familiar with the specific issues you face,” added Provinziano.