Although the hope would be that same-sex marriages last forever, the reality is that we are all human and along with marriage comes the same issues and problems faced by the straight community that lead to divorce. With the divorce rate in the straight community being approximately 50 percent, same sex partners must consider this possibility. Although this may sound extremely disheartening, you should know that there are alternatives to the nasty and litigated divorces.
There are several different Alternative Dispute Resolution approaches including mediation, arbitration and the one I most prefer, Collaborative Divorce.
Collaborative Divorce is a legally recognized process that enables couples who have decided to terminate their marriage or committed relationship, to work with attorneys in a collaborative manner and to strive to do so without ever having to go to court. The parties and their attorneys agree to work together in a respectful and honest manner to arrive at “win-win” solutions to their issues. Rather than having a Judge make the decisions, the parties and their attorneys bring creative resolutions to the individual needs of their clients and their family. Meetings are held at the attorney’s offices where the four parties present sit at a round table (usually) and begin open and meaningful discussions about the issues confronting the family and what will make sense for this family.
What also makes Collaborative Law unique is that the parties and their attorneys sign a binding contract at the start of the process promising that there will be full disclosure
of all assets and liabilities and, most importantly, a promise not to go to court. Should
negotiations break-down, the clients must retain new counsel and discharge the collaborative law attorneys. This rarely happens, because the parties become so invested in the process. Collaborative Law is a very effective and efficient means for dissolving a relationship for couples that want to retain control during the process and are willing to engage in “four way” settlement meetings where there is open dialogue and lively discussion.
Should you be confronted with the sad reality that you need to dissolve your relationship, please seek the advice of a collaborative law attorney.
Ellen S. Fischer of the Law Office of Ellen S. Fischer has been working closely with individuals and families throughout the greater Philadelphia region for more than 20 years. Ellen received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Temple University and returned to earn a Juris Doctor degree from the Temple University School of Law. Ellen serves on a number of leadership committees and is a member of Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia (GALLOP). In addition to LGBTQ services, Ellen's practice areas are family law and personal injury.