Divorce lawyer Becky Moshier provides advice for GLBT couples navigating divorce.
Becky Moshier of Moshier Law Office, PLLC is an expert in the legal procedure of divorce. However, most people who go through divorce themselves struggle to understand the complicated web of finances, familial matters, property, and more. Divorce is often messy and difficult, but it can be even harder for GLBT couples, especially those with children. To help couples navigate this trying time, Moshier has offered some advice to follow.
Moshier says it is important to first determine if the dissolution is amicable or not. If it is, Moshier suggests that each individual write down a list of issues to discuss together. Then, the couple needs to decide which issues can be resolved within the relationship and which need to be drafted in paperwork for the court.
“If you disagree on some issues, do you think some form of ADR (Alternate Dispute Resolution) such as mediation would be helpful? Mediators are often attorneys that have had special training to assist people in resolving disputes,” Moshier says. “However, you need to understand that mediation can be expensive as most mediators charge by the hour and the hourly rate is often comparable to what a divorce attorney would charge.”
Moshier says to be aware that many paralegal services offered online are not the equivalent of lawyers and cannot offer legal advice.
“I would also caution anyone with complicated assets or debts that it would be unwise to draft the paperwork themselves. If you know that you will need the assistance of a lawyer, then look for referrals and interview several prospective lawyers before you decide on a lawyer to assist you,” she says.
For GLBT couples, Moshier says there aren’t many differences from straight couples going through divorce. However, she says it can sometimes be difficult if a GLBT couple has children.
“For GLBT couples that have adopted children by only one parent or had a child through assisted reproduction technology, there are many issues that may arise, especially if they did not have legal documents drafted by a lawyer prior to the process. Lawyers can be your best friend when you have complicated issues of child rearing and financial responsibility,” Moshier says.
Many couples have children through in-vitro fertilization (IVF), which Moshier says can have different outcomes in a divorce based on the legal relationship each parent has with the children.
“It depends on if the couple has already taken steps to formalize their relationship with the children prior to adopting or conceiving the children through IVF. I cannot stress strongly enough that you need the agreement in writing and not a handshake deal in matters so vital as the well-being of your children,” Moshier says. “I would encourage any GLBT couple to seek the assistance of a lawyer with experience in adoption or IVF as it is a very specialized practice.”
Moshier says she offers a free consultation service to potential clients to discuss the divorce process and answer any questions that the couple might have.
“I ask each client to fill out a comprehensive worksheet that compiles basic personal and financial information necessary to draft the divorce documents. I go over this document with the client in person to make sure it’s accurate and discuss any potential problems or areas of concern,” she says.
For more information about the process of divorce, to schedule a free consultation with Moshier, or to learn more about the other services of her law firm, visit her website at moshierbankruptcylaw.com.