What to Expect in Divorce Mediation for Same-Sex Couples

What to Expect in Divorce Mediation for Same-Sex Couples

By Lisa RisnerJuly 15, 2021

Going through a divorce can be a stressful time. Divorce mediation is a popular choice for navigating the process without going to court and leaving important decisions up to the court.

Mediation helps couples come to decisions about important issues like property, finances, and even child custody. Same-sex couples, on the other hand, can face unique challenges during a divorce, but mediation can address some of those issues.

Choose a Mediator

One of the benefits of divorce mediation is that you can choose your own mediator. It’s possible to shop around for a mediator to find one that you’re comfortable with to be a neutral third party in your divorce negotiations.

In court, you will be assigned a judge at random. The judge will use standard law and convention to make decisions about your divorce, from child custody to division of assets.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to screen judges for their views on LGBT issues. If you have concerns about homophobia from a judge or other courthouse staff, consider mediation before you pursue litigation.

When you first consult with a mediator, you’ll have the opportunity to meet, discuss your situation, and choose to proceed with mediation or not.

Most mediators provide free consultations, which gives you the opportunity to make sure you’re comfortable with the mediator and that the mediator can help you work through your divorce. That way, you’ll be free to focus on mediating your divorce and negotiating with your spouse. 

Make Decisions on Your Own Terms

Mediation empowers you to make decisions about your marriage according to your own values and beliefs. Many laws governing marriage and divorce were written decades ago, and they may not take marriage equality into account.

Your divorce mediator won’t make decisions according to laws that may not apply to you or may not be relevant to your situation.

For example, a court would use the length of your marriage to help determine the division of property and other assets or make decisions about alimony. Couples that have been together for decades may not get fair consideration of their relationship simply because they weren’t able to be legally married.

Instead of relying on court standards, you’ll be able to take into account the length of your relationship and distribute your assets according to terms both of you can agree upon as being fair. 

Resolve Child Custody Concerns Smoothly

Laws around child custody for same-sex couples can be frustrating to deal with. You may be dealing with laws that aren’t written with same-sex couples in mind.

In some same-sex couples, only one person is legally recognized as a parent. When a court looks at a situation like that, the custody decision is based upon legal parental status.

Outside of court, the custody situation can be resolved differently. You can discuss your individual needs and family dynamics to find a solution that’s best for everyone. With the help of a mediator, you can negotiate a schedule for visitation or custodial rights.

If you can resolve your issues through mediation instead of litigation, you’ll avoid court battles and make things easier for your child. Messy divorces are hard on children, especially when they feel uncertain about how they’ll be affected.

Save Money

Paying for a divorce attorney is expensive, and the more time your attorney spends on your case, the higher your bill will be. By comparison, mediation is much cheaper, because it’s the facilitation of a discussion between you and your spouse.

In-court divorces often cost several thousand dollars, even for average cases. Often, you can cut the cost of your divorce in half by mediating out of court and coming to a conclusion as a couple.

Many mediators charge a flat rate for their services, which can save you a lot of money in comparison to services that are billed by the hour. If you pay one flat fee, you can focus on mediation and discussion without being distracted by concerns about fees.

Look for well-qualified mediators that are able to offer legal advice in addition to their conflict resolution skills. They’ll be able to help you process your divorce paperwork so everything goes through smoothly.

Keep Your Privacy

Mediation is a completely private affair, unlike taking a divorce case to court. It gives you more space to talk freely with your spouse and have difficult conversations.

In most situations, a court reporter will be present to write down every word spoken in court. This transcript is part of the public record, which means that private details about your home life that come up during discussions will become accessible to the general public.

Lots of couples have concerns about privacy, and same-sex couples may be especially invested in keeping their private lives to themselves instead of talking about them in a courtroom. Mediation is confidential and the process will never be exposed to the public.

Using this method, only your final agreement becomes a public record and not the potentially messy process of making those hard decisions. Many mediators will even file your paperwork on your behalf, so you won’t even need to visit the courthouse yourself.

Create a Written Agreement

The negotiation process will require each of you to identify your most important needs and make sure that those needs are being met by the agreement. Keeping those needs in mind, the mediator will present several possible options for you to discuss.

After you’ve discussed your concerns, negotiated, and made compromises, your mediator can use all that information to draft your written settlement agreement.

The final result will reflect both of your needs, and you’ll both need to sign this document to show that you intend to follow its terms. If your mediator has legal training, he or she can create the memorandum of understanding that will be finalized and filed with the rest of your divorce paperwork.

Divorce Mediation of California can help same-sex couples tackle the big issues in mediation, saving money and avoiding inconvenient times in court. 

For affirming divorce mediation services Santa Ana, contact us at Divorce Mediation of California today.

369 San Miguel Dr #100, Newport Beach, 
CA 92660, USA
© 2024 Divorce Mediation of California, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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