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Florida Women's Law Group

What You Need To Know About Getting A Same-Sex Divorce In Florida

Author: Florida Women's Law Group
Date: May 28 2021

Same-Sex Divorce in Florida

In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide with the court case of Brenner v. Scott.  This decision was life-changing for many same-sex couples throughout the country and gave them the same spousal rights as opposite-sex marriages.  With the right to marry also came the right to divorce.  This raises the question of whether a same-sex divorce is the same as an opposite-sex divorce?  In many ways both divorces are the same but there are some aspects that are different.  The laws and statues that apply to same-sex divorce are evolving and can be complex.  This type of divorce is still in its early stages and protocols are slowly being established.

Filing for Divorce in Florida

When filing for divorce the process is the same in a same-sex or opposite-sex marriage.  The divorce is filed the same way and issues such as property, asset division and spousal support are addressed.  To file in Florida, at least one spouse must reside in the state for six months to be considered a legal resident.  Florida is considered a no-fault state so a reason for the divorce does not have to be proven just that they wish to not be married anymore.

If couples were married after the 2015 court ruling and did not have a legal union and there are no children, then the divorce is the same as any other couple wanting to dissolve their marriage. 

Relationship Established Before 2015

If a same-sex couple were together before 2015 or they had a civil union or domestic partnership prior to the legalization of the marriage is where things get a little more complicated.  When a couple marries their assets, property and liabilities become common property, prior to the marriage it was all legally considered separate.  For the same-sex couple that were together prior to 2015 it is very likely that monies were co-mingled and there is joint property but deciding who gets what gets unclear.  The actual duration of the relationship can be left up to the courts and the judge.  Same-sex divorce is so new that courts handle it all differently.  The length of the marriage is also used to determine spousal support, and this can create challenges for the couple that has been together longer than they have legally been wed.

Child Custody and Support

In any divorce, child custody is always the hardest part and in a same-sex divorce it becomes even more challenging.  In Florida, the legal rights in child custody and support are decided by the individual’s relationship with the child.  If only one spouse is the biological parent of the child and the other spouse did not legally adopt the child only the biological parent has parental rights.  This is especially challenging if couples were together prior to the union becoming legal and one partner was unable to legally adopt the non-biological children but have been a parental figure throughout the children’s lives.  If the children were not legally adopted the non-biological parent is not entitled to custody, visitation or to pay support.  This varies by jurisdiction as well and courts and judges handle each case differently.

Benefits of an Experienced Attorney

Divorce is not easy, regardless of who makes up the couple.  In a same-sex divorce couples face unique challenges and having an attorney that has the knowledge and skills to protect your rights and understands your needs is vital.  At Florida Women’s Law Group we are well-versed on the laws and rulings in same-sex divorce cases.  We are here to represent all women and be your ally and advocate to get you through and onto the next stage of your life.

Whatever your needs are, our attorneys are here for you now, throughout the process, and after the divorce is finalized. We have the skills, experience and resources needed to provide you with compassionate legal service.

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