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Elements of a Same-Sex Divorce Mediation in Virginia

Elements of a Same-Sex Divorce Mediation in Virginia

Same-sex marriage has become the law of the land, and has been legally recognized in Virginia since October 6, 2014. With this newly gained civil right, however, comes the possibility that some same-sex marriages will end in divorce. Divorce is always complicated, but divorce in the LGBTQ community presents unique circumstances that require a certain degree of cultural sensitivity. When a same-sex or LGBTQ couple is seeking a divorce, oftentimes mediation is the best option to afford them the understanding, respect, and privacy they deserve.

No matter who is involved in the dissolution of a marriage, each divorce mediation process is unique. With same-sex couples especially, however, a mediator should be conscientious of different sets of standards, length of legal marriage versus length of partnership, and peculiar societal constraints and discrimination that the couple or individuals may have faced. There is often a shared history of overcoming adversity that has impacted the marriage, and a compassionate, effective divorce mediator will be cognizant of the difficulties some same-sex couples continue to experience in society.

Same sex couples were declared to be equal under alimony statutes as well. In 2016, the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled that a divorced woman should stop receiving alimony from her former husband because she was in a new relationship, wherein she was cohabiting with her female partner as if they were married. An LGBTQ divorce can be complex, but if both spouses come to mediation with a common goal of equitable property distribution and functional solutions for their family, divorce mediation is often successful.

Same-sex divorces with children may present unique obstacles

In addition to marriage equality, same-sex parenting and adoption have become increasingly common. In a same-sex divorce, mediators must have all the relevant information about any children of the divorcing couple. In some circumstances, one spouse will have adopted a child, and not the other. In other cases, one spouse may be the biological parent of their children, but the other parent might seek custodial rights. Same-sex couples seeking a divorce are smart to utilize a respectful mediation environment to create parenting plans for custody and child support.

At Divorce Mediation Associates, Ltd., we believe that you have a right to be respected and heard in your divorce. Our capable and trusted Northern Virginia mediation team prides ourselves on our reputation for assisting all couples in pursuing functional and workable solutions for all parties. We want you to feel empowered, and we want to help you conduct your divorce in a positive way. Please do not hesitate contact us for answers to your questions. Learn how divorce mediation might be the right choice for your family by calling us at 703-665-7592 or utilizing our contact form.