Same-Sex Marriage And Divorce In Florida
Because Florida does not recognize same-sex marriage — even for individuals who were married in a state where same-sex marriage is legal — Florida statutes regarding divorce do not apply to same-sex couples. Resolving the division of assets and debt, child custody and other issues can either be done outside of court or, in some cases, through civil court.
The law office of Ronald H. Kauffman, A Professional Association, is vigilant about monitoring developments in this area of Florida law. Ron has helped a number of clients resolve the important matters that same-sex couples ending a relationship encounter, including the division of property and the development of a parenting plan.
The firm also helps same-sex couples take a proactive approach by putting prenuptial or postnuptial agreements in place. If an agreement regarding the division of assets exists, the courts will recognize it. If there is a dispute regarding assets or debt and an agreement is not in place, Ron encourages clients to pursue a resolution through mediation or the collaborative law process rather than litigate.
Resolving Child Custody Disputes
Issues regarding child custody, which Florida courts refer to as “time sharing,” are more complex. Cohabitation agreements cannot address matters of who receives primary custody or how parenting duties will be shared if a relationship ends.
If a same-sex couple with a minor child can reach agreement outside of court regarding the rights of both parents, the courts most often will accept it. If an agreement on time sharing cannot be reached and one of the partners is the biological parent of the child, the court likely will recognize that person as the parent with full custody rights. The exception to this is if the nonbiological parent has already obtained legal status as a second parent.
If both parents are legally listed as adoptive parents, then each will have custody rights under Florida law. The court will consider what is in the best interests of the child using the same criteria that is used when addressing custody issues with unmarried heterosexual couples. This includes:
- The emotional and developmental needs of the child
- The ability of each parent to encourage and foster a positive relationship with the other parent
- The moral fitness of both parents
- The mental and physical health of both parents
We Can Answer Your Questions Regarding Same-Sex Marriage And Divorce
When a same-sex domestic partnership ends, the decisions that must be made are too important to attempt to resolve without an attorney or put in the hands of a lawyer who has limited experience with these cases.
Call 800-556-2329 or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We will review the facts of your case and recommend the best steps to take. We work with clients throughout South Florida, including residents of Miami-Dade and Broward counties.