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Same-sex couples face unique issues when divorcing

Same-sex couples who are seeking to get a divorce may find that it may be more complicated than they anticipated. This is because the length of their marriages may not reflect the true length of their relationships. How long a marriage lasts may play a key role in whether an individual receives spousal support and how property is divided. In lengthier marriages, those who earn or who have less than their spouses may receive alimony or larger shares of marital property.

However, it is possible that a court will look beyond the official marriage date when creating a divorce decree. Of course, there is no guarantee that this will happen, and it could leave those without significant earnings or assets vulnerable. There may also be issues related to child custody as only one person may be considered the child's legal parent.

To help resolve some of these issues, it may be a good idea to pursue mediation as opposed to litigation. However, this assumes that both parties are amenable to such a solution. The specific benefits of mediation include lower costs compared to litigation, as well as more flexibility in creating a divorce settlement. Participants also generally have more control over the mediation process.

It may be a good idea to consult with an attorney before getting a divorce. Doing so may make it possible to learn about property division, alimony and child custody after a marriage ends. An attorney may also be able to review any prenuptial or other agreements to determine their validity. If such an agreement is valid, it will likely determine whether a person gets alimony or which items may be divided when the marriage ends.

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