Berman & Asbel, LLP

Same-sex couples and divorce: Options abound

If we were to form our beliefs about divorce solely from examples in the media and pop culture, we would walk away with the assumption that the end of a marriage is always nasty, contentious and bitter. Making matters worse, virtually everyone has a friend or family member who went through the wringer when ending his or her marriage. However, it is important to know that in terms of same-sex couples and divorce, there are many options available concerning how to end a Pennsylvania union.

By far the easiest, least stressful and most cost-efficient manner of ending a marriage is to take a collaborative approach. This involves working with your spouse to determine issues of property division and child custody. Both parties can retain their own divorce counsel, but the focus is on working together to reach a fair and relatively quick resolution.

Another approach involves mediation. This is a process by which a couple uses a trained and unbiased mediator to work out issues associated with the end of the marriage. Mediation can take place with or without attorneys present, and can even be conducted without the need for parties to be in the same physical location. In many instances, mediation is a cost-saving alternative to a heavily litigated divorce.

The bottom line is that each Pennsylvania marriage is unique, which makes each and every divorce process also specific to the individuals involved. Issues involving same-sex couples and divorce do not have to be excessively stressful or contentious, even when the participants do not see eye-to-eye on the terms of the divorce. Working together to end the marriage and move on to separate lives can save a great deal of time, money and emotional turmoil.

Source: New Hampshire Union Leader, "Know the Law: Advice on resolving divorce with grace," Margaret Kerouac, Feb. 10, 2013

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