Laura and Russell Collins, Family Mediation Services
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Family Mediation | Post-Divorce Mediation | Domestic Partnerships and Same-Sex Marriages

Domestic Partnerships and Same-Sex Marriages

In 2005, AB 205, the California Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act, dramatically enlarged the legal options available to gay and lesbian families.  And, with the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in June, 2013, gay and lesbian couples in California were allowed to marry and be afforded all of the benefits and duties of marriage under federal law.  However, because of the lack of interstate recognition of gay and lesbian marriages, there is still a great deal of confusion for couples and practitioners alike.  Against this backdrop of legal uncertainty, mediation can help cohabitants come to an agreement around issues such as:

  • Do we want to remain unregistered, register, get married, make private agreements about our property, or some combination of these options?
  • Should we adopt each other’s children?
  • What happens if we move to a non-recognition state?

Similarly, mediation can allow separating partners to end their relationship while preserving their financial and emotional resources and keeping their connections to their extended family and friends intact.  And for families, our child-friendly mediation allows them to protect their children as they plan for their future.

It will be years before the uncertainities of same-sex marriage will be clarified by the courts.  In the meantime, the simplicity and self-determining nature of mediation can produce voluntary agreements about how couples and families define their relationships. 


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