For those of us here in San Diego, California, this past weekend was the Pride parade and festival. Some of you may be wondering why San Diego Pride is celebrated in July (as I have before) and apparently, it’s because in 1990 it was nearly rained out, so the decision was made to leave “June gloom” behind for the warmer and sunnier month of July (and for those of you who attended Pride this year it was certainly warm!).
No matter where you live in California or the country one thing that’s important to us at West Coast Family Mediation Center is the idea of nurturing equality and harmony and working with families no matter what the makeup looks like. We offer same-sex family mediation on a variety of issues that may come up. For some couples that’s divorce mediation if they’re married and looking to divorce while for others that could be mediation after a long relationship that’s ending, but they were never married or domestic partners. Same-sex family mediation can be used for any family issues that the couple/family wants to keep out of court.
Nurturing Equality and Harmony
Now you might be wondering why mediation would be the best option for these issues and there are several reasons why mediation can help nurture equality and harmony that the court process just won’t do.
First off, if you’ve been in a same-sex relationship and were never married (that could be because you didn’t want to or because you’d been together for such a long period of time and it wasn’t that long ago that same-sex marriage wasn’t legal everywhere) it can be hard to determine who would actually deal with the issues that you need to resolve. If you have children together then there can still be a parentage action in the family court system, however if the issues revolve around jointly owned assets or debts, such as a home or other accounts that you may have chosen to own jointly then you may find yourself in a position where you don’t know how to deal with figuring out dissolving the relationship and dividing your assets.
As a family law mediator and attorney in California, I have experience working with all different types of couples and families, and have worked with many same-sex couples over the years who have been married and not married.
For those who were never married issues of figuring out how to distribute proceeds in the home that they owned together jointly have been a big issue. This is because where if they had been married then everything would have been community property (absent a prenuptial agreement) and then we’d just be looking at dividing the equity equally because the parties were not married, they did not have a community property interest and then when one party has paid more of the mortgage or other expenses over the years there may not be the same legal argument to divide it equally. By coming to mediation, the parties are able to remain harmonious and work together to come up with an agreement that they would both feel comfortable with.
One Partner Hasn’t Worked
Another main issue that I see coming up in same-sex family mediation where the couple was never married is that there may be a situation where one of the parties hasn’t worked during the relationship and now may need some sort of support moving forward, but again they’re not getting divorced so in order to receive any support they’d have to file and win a Marvin Action with the court (which is a whole other blog post). By coming to mediation, again I’m able to work with both of them to understand what their interests and concerns are and come up with an agreement that is going to protect them both moving forward.
Family Mediation for Same-Sex Couples
While it doesn’t matter to us whether we’re working with an opposite sex or same-sex couple for family mediation, we do understand that there are unique issues that may arise and it’s important to make sure that your mediator is nurturing equality and harmony throughout the whole process and not making it more difficult on you or your partner. Contact West Coast Family Mediation Center today.