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Possible Legal Complications with Same-Sex Divorces in Florida


Now that same-sex couples can enjoy the benefits of legal marriage in Florida, the possibility of divorce comes into the equation as well. While same-sex couples have the same rights to divorce as they do to marry, there may be some additional challenges that heterosexual couples do not face when getting a divorce.

Length of Marriage versus Length of Relationship

One of the biggest issues facing same-sex couples wanting to divorce is the length of the marriage for spousal support purposes. Many same-sex couples have been together for years, but they have only been married for a few years due to the laws. You might wonder why this even matters, but it can have an impact on a number of decisions regarding asset division, parental rights, and spousal support.

If the divorce proceedings continue in the court, the chances of equal distribution will go down because of this. In these situations, utilizing divorce mediation may be a better option. Through a neutral 3rd party mediator, both sides can work out what is a more fair and equitable deal. This process usually produces better outcomes and results in fewer bad feelings.

Child Support and Custody

Same-sex couples who have minor children and are divorcing may find that they have additional challenges with custody and child support. Same-sex couples have either adopted or only one spouse is biologically related to the child, which means the other parent could be cut out if they have not formally adopted the child.

This can be one of the most devastating factors during the marriage break up since you could be raising a child for years and suddenly be cut out. The flip side of that is the parent who is not legally responsible would not be required to pay child support since they are not biologically related nor the adoptive parent. If this is a contested divorce, the judge has to weigh all factors accordingly and decide what is in the children’s best interests.

Make Legal Arrangements Ahead of Time 

Same-sex couples should take extra precautions before the risk of the relationship breaking down materializes and they are facing a contentious divorce. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is a beneficial tool for same-sex couples. It can help outline how financial issues will be addressed, including spousal support.

Couples should also ensure they are both listed as legal parents for any children to avoid further issues in the event of divorce. In the case of a surrogate or sperm donor, sometimes the non-biological parent never goes through with the formal adoption process, and that is where you can run into problems with not having rights to visitation or custody.

Retaining a Florida Divorce Attorney

If you have questions about same-sex divorce in Florida, or you need assistance with drafting a marital agreement, it’s important to speak with a Florida divorce attorney who has experience representing same-sex clients. Contact the knowledgeable team at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White at 561-391-9943 to schedule a consultation. Let one of our skilled family law attorneys answer all your questions regarding complications that can arise during a same-sex divorce in Florida.


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