Three Important Issues in Same Sex Divorce
Whether you are a heterosexual couple or members of the LGBTQ community, the process for getting a divorce in Florida is the same. However, changes in attitudes and the laws governing same sex marriage over the years can have a major impact on your case.
Issues That Impact Same Sex Couples In Florida Divorce Cases
Same sex couples are entitled to the same legal rights as heterosexual couples. Under the Florida divorce statutes, the same legal principles govern proceedings when they elect to get a divorce. However, there are issues members of the LGBTQ community are more likely to face. These include:
- Marital property division.
The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges made same sex marriage legal in Florida and throughout the United States. However, many couples who tied the knot at that point had been in loving, committed relationships with their partner for years or even decades prior to the ruling.
Under Florida divorce laws, all property and assets accumulated during your marriage must be divided on an equitable basis. For same sex couples, this could exclude homes, cars, financial accounts, and retirement benefits accumulated in the years prior. To address this situation, additional negotiations will be needed with the other party and their attorney. If a suitable divorce settlement cannot be reached, the matter will need to be settled by the judge in your case.
- The right to spousal support and maintenance.
If one spouse makes significantly more than the other or has sacrificed their own career or education for the sake of the marriage, they may be entitled to spousal support and maintenance, otherwise referred to as alimony.
One of the key factors a judge will consider in determining whether spousal support should be awarded is the length of the marriage. The courts typically exclude any previous time you spent together prior to making a legal vow. The same as with property division proceedings, additional efforts may be needed to persuade a judge as to why alimony is justified in your case.
- Parenting rights, child time sharing, and child support obligations.
One of the most sensitive issues in same sex divorce cases is in regards to children. If you and your spouse adopted or had a child through in-vitro fertilization, only one of you may be listed on the birth certificate.
As a result, it will require additional negotiations, evidence, and other legal efforts to have the unnamed parent included in parenting plans. Conversely, if only one parent is listed on the birth certificate, there may be challenges in obtaining a child support order against their partner.
Let Us Help You Today
As an experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney with decades worth of experience serving clients throughout the LGBTQ community, Vanessa L. Prieto has the legal knowledge and skill to guide you through complex issues that may arise in your divorce case. To discuss your options, contact our office and request a consultation today.