Florida Bill Proposes Domestic Partner Registry
Cohabitation in Florida, referred to as common law marriage in various other states, is not legally recognized under state statutes. Florida law also does not recognize same-sex marriage. In fact, in 2008, the Florida legislature passed an amendment to the Florida Constitution, called Florida Amendment 2, which states, "Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized."
However, recently the Sun Sentinel reported that the Florida Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs approved (by a five to four vote) a bill for a domestic partner registry. The bill grants rights to partners who co-habit in Florida. The bill creates a registry for unmarried same-sex and opposite-sex partners and provides them with rights that include the following:
- Hospital or prison visitation
- Ability to make long-term care decisions
- Right to make funeral arrangements
- Notification in case of emergency
- Same rights as spouses for co-owned property
- Ability to inherit from their partner
Currently, Florida has 18 municipalities, including Palm Beach, Orange, Broward, Leon and Miami-Dade counties with their own local domestic registries.
The Law Offices of Schwartz | White provide legal assistance to domestic partners to create cohabitation agreements and put other legal instruments in place such as living wills, advance directives, last will and testament, trusts, and other estate planning arrangements that can protect their rights and interests.