When same-sex partners decide to dissolve a domestic partnership or a legally recognized marriage, there are many of the same decisions to make that heterosexual couples must make about property, children and support. But gay, lesbian, and transgender partners often need to make these decisions without the same legal safety net that guarantees rights. On the other hand, separating without judicial intervention can be a welcome relief for couples who want to maintain their privacy and are able to separate in an amicable way.
You may need to address a range of issues, including eligibility for health insurance, life insurance, survivor benefits, domestic partnership status, living wills, wills, health care power of attorney, and HIPPA authorization for access to health care records. Second parent adoption enables both parents to participate in major decisions involving the child’s upbringing, as well as establishing other rights. We will help you with child custody mediation and make sure you have not overlooked the relevant issues.
In the Washington, DC area, the relevant laws and rights differ significantly depending on whether a couple resides in Maryland, DC or Virginia. We encourage our clients to see attorneys so that they have a clear understanding of the legal consequences of any decisions that they are considering. We maintain a referral list of attorneys in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia who work with LGBT families in mediation. What the courts might do can be one factor in making decisions. We also encourage couples to discuss what they think is fair, what is in the best interest of their family and what solutions could allow them to part ways with respect and emotional closure. This is particularly important when children are involved. In mediation, we help couples keep talking until they find solutions that work for both of them.