The Collaborative Process Offers LGBTQ Clients More Support

Historically LGBTQ people have not been recognized by the court system nor treated well by the judicial system when recognized. Even though same-sex couples can marry today, many are still hesitant to go to court when getting a divorce. The collaborative divorce process can assist these couples by keeping them out of a courtroom.
Many same-sex couples have been together for many years before they could marry. As a result, they may have a different view of marriage than opposite-sex married couples. Some couples may want to keep their assets and debts separate during their marriage. Other same-sex couples may have different views of monogamy. By hiring collaborative attorneys, LGBTQ sensitive coaches, and financial consultants, they can openly discuss their concerns without fear of rejection or disapproval.

Some same-sex couples married as a political statement. One or both of the parties may not have thought about the financial ramifications of getting married. When the parties separate, they may be surprised to learn that they have to share a pension or pay spousal support to the other. In the collaborative process, the parties can discuss and explore these assumptions and make agreements based upon what they agree is equitable under the circumstances of their relationship. With collaborative coaches, the parties can discuss how their relationship did or did not look like a heterosexual marriage and what that means in their divorce.

Further, the laws that govern their relationship may be different for different periods of their relationship. Prior to marriage, the division of the parties’ assets and debts is governed by contract law. After the parties registered as domestic partners, state community property rules apply but federal marriage rules do not apply. Then, when the parties marry, federal marriage laws now apply. Collaborative lawyers can work with the clients to explore what agreements they had for each time period in their relationship and what, if any, difference that makes in their dissolution.

The Collaborative process offers LGBTQ clients more support with the use of collaborative attorneys, coaches, neutral financial consultants, and other specialists trained to address their unique needs. The collaborative process also gives the clients privacy and a more trusting space to uncouple than the historically homophobic/transphobic legal system.

Lastly, the collaborative process allows the couple control over the process and the ability to make their own agreements in a way that works for both of them.

Diane M. Goodman
Law & Mediation Office of Diane M. Goodman, APC