Marriage laws in the United States for LGBT families vary widely from state to state and are changing rapidly. Consistent with this evolving landscape, the state of same-sex marriage in Virginia is in limbo. Virginia has a statutory ban on same-sex marriage (Code of VA §20-45.3), which a federal court struck down in early 2014, but is still being enforced pending appeal.
Despite the uncertain state of marriage in the Commonwealth, there are ways in which same-sex couples can protect themselves now, and the Collaborative Process can be helpful with those, including:
- Beginning Relationships: Domestic Partnership Agreements, Premarital Agreements, and Postnuptial Agreements.
- Ending Relationships: Separation Agreements and Property Settlement Agreements.
Why is the Collaborative Process particularly helpful for LGBT families with relationship issues?
- The Collaborative Process is not a “one size fits all” process. It can be tailored to each couple’s individual needs.
- The Collaborative Process relies on many reference points in helping couples reach agreements, such as fairness, practical and economic realities, goals and interests, and is not focused entirely on what a court would do, which, with LGBT couples, is unsettled and hard to predict.
- The Collaborative Process is able to take into consideration tax and other consequences that are unique to LGBT families.
- The Collaborative Process can be structured to serve a family’s real needs, giving them control over where to spend their resources and energy.