All About Same-Sex Divorces in Florida
Expanding marriage rights to same-sex couples brought happiness to millions of Americans, but the reality of divorce also came along with it. Divorces can be especially difficult to navigate for LGBTQ+ couples, especially in the realms of child custody and financial settlements. While progress has been made since the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015, unique challenges still exist that require specialized legal expertise.
If you’re in the middle of a divorce or custody battle, you should consult an attorney who understands the nuances of same-sex cases. A tailored approach makes all the difference in achieving a fair and equitable resolution.
At The Bardine Law Firm, our seasoned attorneys specialize in all family law matters, including same-sex divorce. We’re committed to guiding you through the entire process with sensitivity and expertise. Reach out to us today at (727) 605-7078 or through our website for a consultation.
The Legal Landscape for Same-Sex Divorces in Florida
The landscape for same-sex divorce in Florida has evolved significantly since the federal legalization of same-sex marriage. Despite the massive leaps forward, the current legal framework still presents unique obstacles, particularly for couples who have lived together for years but only legally married after 2015. Florida has not recognized common law marriages since the late 1960s, which can complicate matters like asset division and alimony calculations that may rely on the length of the marriage.
The meat and potatoes of the divorce process in Florida are generally the same regardless of sexual orientation. Residency requirements stipulate that you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months before filing for divorce. Florida is also a no-fault divorce state, meaning you can file for divorce based on an irretrievably broken marriage without needing to cite specific grounds.
While the law provides a framework, each case is unique, and having an attorney who specializes in LGBTQ+ family law can be invaluable during these times. For experienced representation, contact Johnny Bardine today.
Child Custody Considerations
When it comes to child custody and visitation, Florida employs a “time-sharing” system that aims to divide parental responsibilities fairly. However, the system can become complex for LGBTQ+ couples, particularly when only one parent has ironclad legal rights to the child. If both parents have legal rights – either by signing the birth certificate or through legal adoption – the custody proceedings are similar to those for heterosexual couples. On the other hand, if only one parent has legal rights, the other may find themselves without any parental rights at all, making a shared custody agreement crucial.
In determining time-sharing arrangements, the court considers several factors:
- The parenting capabilities of each spouse
- The individual relationships with the child
- The child’s own wishes, if applicable
If you don’t have legal parental rights, having a legally enforceable shared custody agreement in place beforehand can be invaluable – especially true in emotionally charged situations where the law may not fully capture the nuances of your family dynamics. Consulting an attorney experienced in LGBTQ family law is the best option available to you for safeguarding your parental rights and achieving a fair custody arrangement.
Asset division, debts, and alimony are other critical areas where LGBTQ couples may face unique challenges during a divorce. Florida operates under an equitable distribution policy, aiming to divide marital assets and debts fairly, not necessarily 50/50. Assets acquired during the period you were together but not legally married may be considered separate property, not subject to division – another reason why same-sex marriages can be tough to navigate. You may find that you have no legal rights to assets you long believed you were entitled to.
Regarding alimony, the length of your legal marriage plays a significant role in determining the type, duration, and amount awarded. For LGBTQ+ couples who could not marry until recently, this can result in alimony calculations that don’t reflect the actual length of the relationship. With recent changes to alimony law and a general atmosphere of uncertainty surrounding the topic, there has never been a more critical time to have experienced representation during your divorce proceedings.
Contact A Florida Divorce Attorney Today
As we close this discussion on LGBTQ+ rights in family law, it’s clear that the journey toward equitable treatment under the law is far from over. While the legal system provides a framework, the human stories and individual challenges truly define each case.
At The Bardine Law Firm, we don’t just offer legal advice – we offer a partnership committed to navigating these pivotal life moments with you. Contact us today to learn more about how our team can help. You can reach us through our website or at (727) 605-7078.