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Same Sex Divorce Mediation

Now that same sex marriage has been legal across the United States for a few years, same sex divorce is becoming more commonplace. As the number of same sex marriage dissolution cases increase, a growing number of these couples are availing themselves of mediation as an alternative dispute resolution process. There are some points to consider when it comes to same sex mediation in a New Jersey marriage dissolution case.

What is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. Through this process, a mediator is designated to assist a divorcing couple in working out and reach agreement in regard to matters at issue in a divorce.

Mediation is a voluntary process, although a judge can direct a divorcing couple to make an attempt at mediating the issues in their case. A mediator does not make decisions on behalf of a couple in a marriage dissolution case. Rather, a mediator assists a couple in reaching a settled resolution of the issues pending in their case.

Mediation is Confidential

Even with same sex marriage being legal in the United States for several years, many people involved in these types of relationships are quite sensitive about privacy issues. For these reasons, a divorcing same sex couple may be more attuned to protecting their privacy during marriage dissolution proceedings.

A key benefit to mediation as a resource to assist in resolving issues in a same sex divorce is privacy. What goes on during a mediation is confidential. It can only be shared with the judge in the form of a mediation agreement or, in the absence of that, a communication from the mediator as to why the mediation did not produce an agreement. Unlike a divorce trial which is public, what goes on behind the doors of mediation is intended to be kept from the public.

Commonplace Issues of Same Sex Marriage Dissolution Mediation

The bottom line is that the types of issues involved in a same sex marriage dissolution mediation are consistent with what is dealt with in a case involving a couple of different genders. There can be some finer points that vary from one type of divorce to another.

The primary points of resolution typical to a divorce mediation, same sex and otherwise, include:

  • Asset and debt division
  • Child custody
  • Parenting time
  • Child support
  • Creation of a parenting plan
  • Health insurance
  • Alimony
  • Taxes
  • Issues unique to a particular case
Property Issues and Mediation in a Same Sex Divorce

Some of the topical areas in a mediation involving a divorcing couple of the same sex can be a bit more complicated, depending on the specific facts and circumstances. For example, there can be some challenges associated with asset and debt division if a same sex couple were united in some other legal manner in advance of becoming married (when marriage became lawful). Extra effort may be needed in the process to come to an agreement about what should be considered separate property of the divorcing spouses and what is to be deemed assets subject to division in the marriage dissolution proceedings.

Written Agreement

If a divorce mediation proves successful, the mediator drafts a written agreement. The mediation agreement is somewhat like a settlement agreement in that it spells out the decisions the parties mutually have made in regard to pending issues in the case.

The mediation agreement is then submitted to the court for review and approval. If approved by the court (as usually is the case), the mediation agreement between the parties is made part of the order of divorce.

Your Legal Rights in a Same Sex Divorce

While an attorney does not participate with a client in an actual divorce mediation, that does not mean you should forgo hiring an attorney in your case. (Taking the mediation route will result in less money spent on attorney fees, in most cases.) You can schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your options regarding a desire to seek a dissolution of your marriage by scheduling a free initial consultation with a New Jersey divorce lawyer at the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen. You can reach out to us by calling us 201-845-7400.

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*Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances