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LGBTQ Relationships

LGBTQ community confronts similar relationship issues as heterosexual couples. Except that when same-sex couples break up in states that do not permit marriage to them, the problems are magnified. No clear rules apply, and litigation can be complex and costly. Family mediation is a wonderful opportunity for these couples to address their issues and come to rational and fair decisions.

Some same-sex couples choose to not marry, just as some opposite-sex couples. Mediation is an optimal way to address ongoing relationship agreements as well as termination of marriage/ dissolution of relationship issues between same-sex couples who decide to break up.

Mediation is an excellent way for same-sex partners who are married to come to agreement about the terms of their marriage. This can be done with mediation services provided by a marriage mediator as a neutral facilitator in a private setting either before the marriage or after the marriage has commenced with a postnuptial agreement. Using mediation has the benefit of discussing issues face to face in a private setting with a facilitator trained in the issues of marriage and divorce. Mediation can prevent misunderstandings from developing, and help partners and spouses become clear about their goals and expectations.

When couple wishes to dissolve their civil union, mediation is an excellent way to come to terms without resort to court litigation. In a private, confidential setting, with the help of a family mediator, the partners can address concerns, develop solutions, and come to agreements.

Same-sex couples choosing to live together without marriage do so for all sorts of reasons. While some of these couples eventually marry, or enter into civil unions in other states, some do not. Cohabiting same-sex couples may choose to make written agreements. These can address the day-to-day duties of their living together. In addition, cohabitation agreements can determine what happens if they break up.

If a cohabiting same-sex couple marries, the cohabitation agreement may no longer be valid or enforceable. A family mediator is in an excellent position to help the couple formulate a cohabitation agreement, and in the case of later marriage, a prenuptial agreement, if that is what the couple wants.

A significant and growing proportion of same-sex couples, both women and men, have children in their households. When their marriage or cohabitation ends, difficult problems and conflicts may be raised about custody, and sometimes, parentage. Same-sex partners who value the interests of their children will first try to address parenting issues, including support, visitation, and custody, outside of court. The benefits of child custody mediation for the children are enormous. Using the services of a family mediator will be a good step for a couple to address the needs of their children and their future loving participation and connection in their children’s lives.

Like opposite sex couples, same-sex couples struggling in their relationship can get great benefit though marital mediation or marriage mediation (also known as mediation to stay married). In a series of mediation sessions, the couples identify their presenting issues. The neutral marriage mediator listens, observes their interactions, and provides input. Marriage mediators can see patterns of misunderstandings, miscommunication, and assumptions between the couples that the couple themselves cannot see. In an open and honest way, the marital mediator uses these observations to work with the couple and help them improve their communications. Marital mediation is generally short term (several sessions) and practical, often leading to the formulation of a written agreement (postnuptial agreement) that can help the couple resolve issues in the future.