When Florida judge Dale Cohen ordered the first same-sex divorce, it ushered in a new era in Florida family law practice. Same-sex marriages were illegal at the time in Florida and a couple asked for a divorce from a civil union in Vermont. Judge Cohen found Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and granted the divorce.
As of January 6th, 2015, same-sex couples were permitted to marry in Florida and with that privilege comes the unfortunate need to dissolve marriages for a host of reasons. There is evidence that same-sex couples file for divorce at the same rate as heterosexual couples. If you are a same-sex couple and you are considering filing for divorce, you need to consult with an attorney that understands your unique issues.
Custody Challenges for Same-Sex Couples
If there are children of the marriage, they will have been adopted, artificial insemination or other methods. This can present challenges for the family court if both parties were not properly listed on the birth certificate or given legal rights to the children. While both parents may be raising the child, there could be a biological parent where the other person has not formally adopted the child.
If there is no issue with the legal rights of the parents, you will want to seek the advice of a family law attorney right away to negotiate a favorable shared custody arrangement that includes a detailed parenting time plan.
Alimony and Same-Sex Marriages
The topic of alimony is tough even for heterosexual couples. In Florida, alimony involves payments to one spouse that claims financial dependence on the other person in the marriage. One of the unique challenges for a spouse claiming alimony in a same-sex case is the length of the marriage. Courts will award different amounts of temporary and permanent alimony depending on whether it can be proven that it was a short or long term marriage and the time period of financial dependence.
This can be especially difficult for same-sex couples who may have been in a committed relationship for a very long time before their rights to officially marry were granted. There could even be children involved before the marriage that can complicate alimony decisions due to child support being factored into the equation.
Contact Attorney Adam Pollack today for a FREE Same-Sex divorce consultation. Call him at (407) 834-5297 to have all your questions answered.