A Safer Option for Same Sex Divorce
Same-sex marriage was legalized in New Jersey in October of 2013. The US Supreme Court gave it nationwide status in June of 2015. Prior to those dates Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships were the only way for a same-sex couple to enter into a marriage like legal agreement. After becoming a legal option for gay and lesbian couples in New Jersey, almost three thousand same-sex couples exercised their right to marry in the first six months of legalization.
Unfortunately gay andlesbian couples encounter many of the same relationship challenges asheterosexual couples. These challenges have the same effect onrelationships, regardless of sexual orientation. Divorce seems to be theinevitable solution to serious domestic problems for an almostidentical percentage of couples, regardless of sexual preference. Somestudies suggest that LGBT couples may have a slightly better chance atmarital success, but there isn't enough history to confirm or deny thatassumption at this point in time.
The newness of Gay and Lesbianmarriage is equally reflected in the lack of divorce statistics and evenmore importantly case law. What this means for the LGBT couples seekinga divorce is that there are some unknowns that have little or no legalprecedent to predict an obvious outcome. Although issues such as thedivision of financial assets should be easily determined based on yearsof case history and the universal nature of the property in question,not everything in a LGBT Divorce is comparable.
In a heterosexualmarriage many of the items acquired as a married couple have more of agender specific function based on the overall percentages of users. Manytimes these items are easily divided during the divorce process basedon who uses what. Clothing items, toiletries, hobby equipment and toolsfor specific functions tend to be easily divided by most divorcingcouples. On the other hand, marital partners of the same sex would bemuch more likely to share what might be deemed personal items to aheterosexual couple, further clouding the division of property.
Theissue of child custody and support in LGBT divorce are unique andprobably the biggest variable. Unfortunately same sex couples don't havethe luxury of just letting things happen when it comes to starting afamily. Adoption, sperm donor, surrogate mother and many other variablesthat a same sex couple faces when starting a family, create a similarset of questions when unwinding the marriage.
Same sex couples cango the traditional route of litigation when Divorcing, but that processmay leave them at the mercy of a ruling they didn't see coming. Ratherthan face the prospect of being blind sided by a court decision, samesex couples may find the mediation process better suited to a fairdivorce settlement they can both live with. A Mediated divorce givesboth parties input and the opportunity to negotiate a settlement thatworks for both parties.
Divorce mediation is about compromisebetween vested parties, utilizing objective intervention as needed by animpartial mediator. Mediation is just a process for reaching thedesired goal. In the end a legally binding and enforceable divorcesettlement that works for the divorcing couple and is in the bestinterest of any children involved may be predictably achieved.
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