Just like straight couples, gay men and woman who build lives together sometimes find that the relationship does not last. And just like heterosexual couples ending the union, dividing assets, interests and debts of the partnership requires careful thought and unselfish consideration.
Absent a prenuptial agreement that outlined the rights of each should the relationship end they are left with gay couples have three options:
> Private negotiation. Since there is no legally binding contract there is no balance of power. One partner may walk away with more than is his/her right, and communication and compromise can be difficult.
> Divorce attorneys. This option could is expensive since both partners have the cost of a lawyer, but since there is no need to file in the courts, couples would not be faced with that extra expense.
> A private mediator. The couple turns to the guidance of a mediator. They negotiate a legally binding contract and, within a shorter time span.
Each of these options may demand that the partners improvise solutions. For example, the second parent of a child who is not biologically related to it may want visitation rights that would normally be automatic to any parent.