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How LGBT Couples can Benefit From Mediation for Separation or Divorce

In San Diego, July is the time to celebrate Pride in the LGBT community. The annual San Diego Pride Parade is among the largest in the United States and it took place on July 15, 2017. When the June 26, 2015 US Supreme Court ruling finally made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, LGBT couples celebrated around the country and many were finally able to make their commitment to each other legal. As more LGBT couples live in a domestic relationship or get married, they may experience the same rewards and challenges of opposite sex marriages, including the possibility of separation and divorce down the road. These events can be difficult and stressful for many couples, and LGBT couples are not exempt.

Whether LGBT couples decide to dissolve a domestic partnership or a marriage, they need to make decisions similar to heterosexual couples regarding many aspects of their relationship. These include the division of assets, personal property and debt, spousal support, child support and custody, pet custody, division of retirement and pension plans, and any issues related to health and life insurance. As various states continue to grant (or sometimes challenge) equal rights to the LGBT community, it is important for LGBT couples to seek legal guidance and protection that will stand the test of time.

Laws regarding LGBT couples and families’ rights are changing fast and they can differ greatly from state to state, which can make conflict resolution even more complicated if couples move from one state to another. For this reason, there has been a rise in the number of attorneys and family mediators who specialize in LGBT relationships and can address the specific needs of this community. If you are an LGBT couple who decided to separate, it is important to choose a mediator who is highly knowledgeable in LGBT legal separation, domestic partnership termination, and marriage dissolution, and who has a lot of experience understanding and helping LGBT couples and their unique situations. A good way to find out if a mediator is a good match for you is to take advantage of a mediator’s free first consultation (link to blog post How to choose the right divorce mediator for you). By asking specific questions, you can decide how much experience a mediator has in addressing the diverse needs of today’s ever-changing families with sensitivity and understanding. You should always ask if the mediator is specifically trained in same-sex couples issues and is sensitive to the nuances in these relationships.

Both heterosexual couples and LGBT couples can benefit from mediation instead of litigating through attorneys. In many cases, mediation will be less expensive, less hostile and the divorce process will be completed in less time. Divorce and separation mediation enables couples to remain in control throughout the process and handle their unique issues personally. Through mediation, same-sex couples can make important life decisions that they will be able to live with, instead of relying on third-party decisions made by attorneys or the courts.

To learn more about the mediation process, complete our request for a free online evaluation, and to receive a free 30-minute phone consultation, call 619-702-9174.