Focused, Dedicated, Determined since 1986

Same-sex couple turns to divorce mediation

A divorce attorney might agree that recent changes in technology and divorce law have added complexity to the field of family law. A recent divorce between registered domestic partners provides context.

The case concerns a California couple that had registered as domestic partners under state law. They also had two children. Yet the fertility procedures they followed blur the lines of what legally defines a biological parent. Specifically, one woman contributed the egg, and after fertilization from a sperm donor, it was implanted in the other female partner’s uterus. The women reversed those roles for their second child.

After ten years, the couple decided to legally separate. They mutually agreed to a child support and visitation plan, and may not have required court intervention except for a property issue: state law at that time did not recognize joint property division for same-sex couples. Since the couples wanted to avoid paying a gift tax, they requested a ruling from a divorce court.

Unfortunately, the couple did not feel comfortable with the treatment they received from the judge. As a last resort, they opted for mediation, which resulted in a settlement that both partners accepted.

The case is interesting not only because it shows how much divorce and family law has changed in California in recent years, but also that options for dissolution do not always have to involve a divorce court. In this case, the couple selected mediation, which offers a more relaxed format because any discussions are generally confidential and will not leave the mediation room, save for the terms of any agreement that is reached. Although both parties may have their lawyers present, the formalities of evidentiary foundations, opening statements, and arguments can be abandoned in favor of more frank discussions.

Source:, “Laura Wasser Explains How Divorce Has Changed,” Laura Wasser, Oct. 22, 2013

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • BV LexisNecis | Martundale-Hubbel | DISTINGUISHED | For Ethical Standatds and Lagesl Ability
  • State Bar Of California | California Board Of Legal Specialzation
  • avvo rating
  • 9.4

Each time I met with Dianne she was concerned for my well being, and was sincerely empathetic about my situation. She made a horrible chapter in my life bearable.

Contact Dianne Drew Butler & Associates

We offer a confidential consultation to all our new clients. To set up a meeting with experienced lawyers, contact us by email or call our office at 209-390-8829.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Email Us Today

Dianne Drew Butler & Associates, Inc.
3031 West March Lane
Suite 224
Stockton, CA 95219

Phone: 209-390-8829
Stockton Law Office Map