Same-sex divorce litigation in Fairfax is a new area as some same-sex divorce cases have occurred, but as of yet, there is not a lot of case law relating specifically to same-sex divorce. There are some cases relating to same-sex custody cases, but same-sex divorces in Fairfax are fairly new making it important that an individual in a divorce contact a Fairfax same-sex divorce attorney as soon as possible.
Complications of a Same-Sex Divorce
The uncertainty of Virginia law can complicate things. For example, for a couple who might have been united in a state by the civil union prior to coming to Virginia and then participated in a legal marriage ceremony after, it may be unclear under Virginia law as to when the marital period commenced. This is important because marital assets begin to be acquired when a marriage starts. Because the appellate courts in Virginia have not concretely dealt with these kinds of issues, this is an area that could have a multitude of different outcomes depending on the case and the judge.
The way that the law has been in Virginia is that if a non-biological parent has not legally adopted the child, then he or she has no legal relationship to the child, and therefore has a very low chance of being granted any sort of custodial access to that child. These severe complications require the assistance of a same-sex divorce attorney in Fairfax to help craft the best possible case per your specific circumstances.
The Importance of Experience
There are couple of reasons that experience is important, the first is that because the law in Virginia still developing hopefully to reach a point of recognition of all parents but not quite yet, then it is critical for parties to have legal advice so that they understand what the state of the law is, which parties will be recognized legally by the court in relation to the children, and how to proceed from there. In addition to that, it can be helpful to have an attorney who has experience in dealing with same-sex family law issues just in terms of understanding the nature of the relationship and other details that can be particular to same-sex families.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
The benefits of a prenuptial agreement are that, going into the marriage, both spouses have a good understanding of what the outcome will be if the marriage does not work out. In the agreement, each spouse defines his or her respective rights in the event of a divorce. The benefit of a postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement, except it happens after the marriage has occurred. This then defines the rights of the parties in the event that the marriage is dissolved. A Fairfax same-sex divorce attorney can aid in drafting these specific documents.
This is particularly important for same-sex couples in Virginia because the law is still developing. For example, in the area of deciding when the marriage began, there is not currently any concrete law as to how to deal with civil unions versus legal marriages. If the parties to a marriage are willing to define their rights in a prenuptial agreement or a post-nuptial agreement, then that is an area of uncertainty that both spouses can eliminate by the terms of one of those kinds of agreements.
Role of Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation
Just like with opposite-sex divorces, same-sex divorce can be resolved and should be resolved by a means that does not occur inside the courthouse. The benefits of mediation and arbitration are that the parties have, to a great degree, control over the resolution of their case. Whereas, if the parties go to court, they are putting their case and the outcome of their case in the hands of somebody they have not met. In term of the benefits of litigation, I personally believe that absent a situation of abuse in a relationship or other extenuating circumstances such as substance abuse or addiction, litigation is not preferable. However, in cases where there is abuse, addiction, or other complicated issues, then litigation can be beneficial because it forces a resolution and allows the court to hear what the specific issues are and consider them in crafting an equitable outcome of the case.
Benefits of an Attorney
It is important for a person in a same-sex marriage who is considering a divorce to contact a lawyer immediately. This is because the Commonwealth of Virginia is only now starting to develop any kind of law relating to same-sex marriages and divorces. As a result of the fact that this is a new area for Virginia courts, it is very important for a spouse looking to divorce his or her partner to consult with a lawyer to understand the status of Virginia law, and the Virginia courts related to this new area.
It is important to hire somebody who has experience in this area because it is a newly developing area of family law in Virginia. Because of the fact that there is not a well-established history of case law relating to same-sex divorces, it is critical that somebody going through a divorce has a Fairfax same-sex divorce lawyer who stays up on the legal developments in the Commonwealth of Virginia.