Now that Minnesota has passed the Same-Sex Marriage Bill
, there is much to figure out with regard to how laws will apply to same-sex couples and how laws will need to be amended to include same-sex couples. Now that same-sex couples can marry, they will also be subject to the laws for dissolving the marriage. The costs to the couples for going through the process might change because there will be a legal structure in place that now answers questions about division of assets and liabilities, as well as custody and parenting issue. As noted in the article in CNN Money about the cost of same-sex divorce, the cost for a “divorce” in states that have not recognized same-sex marriage has proven to be higher than states where same-sex marriage is recognized.
The article notes that, “For an out-of-court settlement in states where same-sex marriage isn’t recognized, a same-sex divorce typically costs around $20,000, versus $10,000 for an opposite-sex couple, said Randall Kessler, a partner at Kessler & Solomiany Family Law Attorneys in Atlanta.” When children are involved, it further states that, “Same-sex couples who negotiate property division on their own but bring the custody issue to court are usually looking at $40,000, compared to $20,000 for opposite-sex couples, Kessler said. And a long, drawn-out court battle over custody could lead costs to jump to $100,000 or more for a same-sex couple, twice what it costs for an opposite-sex couple.”
In my Collaborative practice
, I have previously worked with same-sex couples dissolving their relationship with children. We did have to navigate the legal system with some creativity to address the issues of property division and parenting issues because they did not fit into the opposite-sex dissolution system. But the Collaborative process allowed them to be treated as a family system and reach a settlement that worked for everyone involved and it was less expensive than if it had been done through traditional legal system. Now that we have legalized same-sex marriage in Minnesota, we will have a system in place that will provide answers to the legal questions that arise in same-sex divorce. And the Collaborative Process will continue to be a responsive process to help manage costs, keep the decision making power within the family, and enable healthy transitions.
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