Same Sex Divorce Mediation
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry and divorce. Same-sex partners now have equal legal rights and responsibilities regarding marriage and divorce—and they have the same protections under Arizona’s domestic relationship laws as their heterosexual couples.
Arizona and Community Property Law
Arizona is a “community property” state. This means that all assets, income, and debts accrued during a marriage are generally divided equally between both spouses. The laws are designed to create a fair and equitable divorce process.
Since same-sex marriages are relatively new, legal precedents are still evolving. Divorces between same-sex couples may have unique concerns. For example, with regard to community property, assets many be distributed through the length of the actual marriage or through the length of the domestic partnership. Couples with children will address issues of parenting time, legal decision making authority, child support or paternity—the same issues that arise in heterosexual relationships.
Same-Sex Divorce and Mediation
Mediation offers a low conflict, affordable alternative to a traditional divorce in Arizona. In a mediation arrangement, spouses meet confidentially with a neutral third party—a divorce mediator—to discuss the distribution of assets and other considerations surrounding divorce. Any matter that the courts can decide—alimony, child custody, or child support—can be negotiated and agreed upon through mediation.
Why Choose Mediation?
Partners in a marriage may grow apart and even resent one another at the point of divorce. They may believe their only option is to turn to the courts and litigation to ensure that they are getting what they deserve out of a divorce decree.
Unfortunately, litigation rarely produces winners. Courts are backlogged, and litigation can take a year or more. Attorneys charge large retainers and hourly fees for every email written and read, every phone call, and any time spent working on your case, which leads to sky-high legal fees.
Divorce mediation is a low-conflict, low-stress, private and affordable alternative for same-sex couples looking to divorce in Arizona. The mediation process creates win-win agreements because both parties maximize their chances of getting what they want and need. Instead of fighting over extreme positions, the mediator helps spouses meet their most important interests.
Less Emotional Stress
Divorce is never easy. While mediation can reduce the majority of stress involved with the divorce process, the challenges of emotionally processing divorce remain. However, choosing mediation prevents “doubling down” on the pain associated with divorce by engaging in a court battle. Spouse can reach agreements faster and without fighting—making it easier to move forward after divorce.
Protect Your Privacy
Arizona law protects “mediation confidentiality.” What happens in mediation stays in mediation. This is contrasted with when divorce plays out in court and becomes a matter of public record. This invasion of privacy can create unnecessary stress for every member of your family, especially if you have children.
When you choose a mediator, you keep all communication during divorce, draft agreements, and sensitivity financial and personal information private. This degree of privacy is one reason celebrities have chosen mediation over a divorce war in court.
Preserve Your Relationship
The stress of litigation can lead to escalation of conflict and destroy any respect and amicability that exists between parents. If children are involved, you and your partner will have to interact with one another after a divorce is finalized. The question is whether parents will become enemies or stay united as parents for the sake of children?
Unlike judges, mediators are committed to keeping the peace between both same-sex partners in a marriage. Mediation emphasizes respectful interaction and provides a solution that encourages an amicable separation. Children need parents to maintain a healthy co-parenting relationship after divorce in order to preserve their own developmental health and well-being.
Stay in Control of Your Personalized Divorce Terms
Same-sex marriages present unique challenges for couples, such as determining the actual length of the union. The courts may not have the time or resources to address these nuances. What is fair to the parties, may not be the same sense of “fairness” handed down by a judge.
In mediation, the wants, needs, and interests of both parties’ can be creatively shaped into mutually beneficial agreements. Both voices are heard, understood, and ultimately incorporated into your divorce settlement. Rather than relinquishing control of divorce terms to a judge, spouses in mediation retain control over their own divorce terms.
Mediation is a productive, less expensive, and more amicable solution to your same-sex divorce proceeding. To learn more about our same-sex divorce services, contact us today.