Ruling Makes Same-Sex Marriage, and Divorce, Legal in Florida

On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Divorce on Saturday, January 24, 2015.

As is true for any straight couple seeking a divorce, same-sex couples face issues and concerns about the process. A federal judge recently overturned Florida's ban on same-sex marriage which prompted Florida same-sex couples to line up to get married. Other gay and lesbian couples responded to the court's ruling by seeking a same-sex divorce. The ruling brought a possible end to the legal limbo some married gay and lesbian couples in Florida have faced.

Many of the couples were married in other states where same-sex marriage is legal. Because Florida did not recognize their unions as legal, however, the couples could not divorce in Florida but because of extended residency requirements in other states necessary to obtain a divorce, they were unable to divorce in those states. The legal limbo some married same-sex couples seeking a divorce in Florida found themselves in left them without legal resolution concerning property division, child custody or other common divorce-related legal issues. A variety of additional personal and professional considerations can also be implicated for individuals unable to divorce.

The census listed 50,000 same-sex couples in Florida in 2010 but not the number that are married. According to researchers at UCLA, Florida can likely expect 25,000 same-sex marriages in the three years following the ruling. Additionally, because same-sex marriage has been legal in some states for 10 years, some experts note that there is a backlogged demand for same-sex divorces in Florida.

Same-sex couples understandably have the same marriage and divorce-related issues and concerns as straight couples. Ranging from prenuptial agreements to division of property, spousal support, child support, child custody and visitation and retirement and tax considerations, the concerns facing same-sex couples seeking a divorce are not unlike those commonly facing straight couples. Because of this, it is important that same-sex couples are familiar with the divorce process and the ways the family law process can assist them.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, "Same-sex marriage in Florida enables same-sex divorce," Stephen Nohlgren, Jan. 10, 2015

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