At the Law Offices of Keith E. Holloway in Texas, we know that if you and your same-sex spouse are contemplating divorce, you still face discrimination in America. Some forms of it, sadly, are deliberate while other forms are inadvertent. One prime example of the latter is the nation’s divorce laws which, depending on the jurisdiction, do not take into consideration the special problems that divorcing same-sex couples like you and your spouse can face. This is where mediation can be particularly useful to you.
Per the Arbitration Law Review, the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage throughout the country. It did not, however, mandate that the states must immediately update their divorce laws to include same-sex couples.
Consequently, the states have been slow to make their divorce laws gender neutral. They also have been slow to update their residency requirements so that a divorcing same-sex couple legally married in one state can get divorced in either their home state or their current state of residence. In addition, state laws are not yet consistent in the way in which they treat the children of same-sex couples. A mediated divorce can solve virtually all of these problems.
Whether sought by a same-sex or straight couple, the purpose of mediation is to ensure that you and your spouse maintain control over your own lives and make your own decisions rather than leaving those decisions up to a judge, as ultimately happens in traditional litigated divorces. While any and all mediated agreements between divorcing couples must have court approval to become legally binding, most courts readily approve mediated agreements and issue the necessary divorce decree.
During mediation, you and your spouse can come to compromised agreements on the following issues:
- Custody, child support and visitation
- Spousal support
- Property division
- Business continuation or sale if you own a business together
In addition, if you signed a pre-nuptial agreement, this, too, becomes part of the mediation because it sets forth what you both agreed to prior to your marriage.
One of the biggest advantages of mediation for same-sex divorcing couples is that neither the mediator nor the court is constrained by whatever legal precedents may or may not exist in that particular jurisdiction. You and your spouse are free to resolve your own issues between yourselves. For more information on this subject, please visit this page on our website.