Same-sex marriage was legally recognized in the state of Florida on Jan. 6, 2015. This landmark ruling allowed all couples the right to marriage, regardless of their sexual orientation. Unfortunately, with marriage can turn into divorce. Under Florida’s marriage laws, same-sex couples have the same rights as straight couples with regards to divorce, child custody and all other facets of family law. Here’s everything you need to know about same-sex divorce in Florida.
For same-sex couples looking to divorce in the State of Florida, they must first file for a petition of divorce in the jurisdiction where they reside. At least one of the spouses who is petitioning for the divorce must also have been a resident in Florida for at least six months prior to the date the petition was filed. Finally, the couple petitioning for the divorce must be able to prove that the marriage has broken down, or that one partner of the married couple is incapacitated mentally.
Contested Vs. Uncontested Same-Sex Divorce
In many instances, divorces can be mutually agreed upon, meaning that they are uncontested. In uncontested divorces, the terms and settlement of the divorce are amicable and conducted outside of the courthouse. In cases where one of the married couple contests the divorce, however, the couple will be required to appear before a judge who will decide their divorce for them. Often the judge may decide to send the couple to marriage counseling in order to determine if the marriage can be saved, order a psychological evaluation of the couple in the event mental incapacitation is claimed, or any other course of action they may deem necessary.
The procedure for a contested divorce usually follows the following pattern, although exact proceedings vary depending upon the individual circumstances of each divorce:
- Preparing, filing and serving the divorce petition
- The other party responding to the petition
- The process of interviewing and hiring an attorney
- Discovery – the information gathering process, which involves various legal procedures to get information from your spouse and any third-party witnesses. These can include written questions, subpoenas, and depositions
- Any pre-trial legal motions and hearings
- Should proposals fail any preparations for a trial
- The trial proceedings
- Any appeals to the decisions reached by the judge
Like in all contested divorces, Florida law allows parties to request what is known as temporary relief. Under temporary relief, spouses may request short-term assistance with child support, alimony, or time-sharing agreements. Temporary relief is especially important if there are children involved in the divorce, allowing both parents to ensure that the emotional and financial needs of the children are addressed.
Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney Today
If you are considering divorce, you need to contact an experienced attorney right away. As financial issues, alimony, and child custody can be difficult situations to navigate, you need an attorney who knows how to get you the results you want and need. Patrick Cordero has extensive experience in all facets of law, including family and financial law. He has the know-how to help you solve your divorce and problems. Call The Law Offices of Patrick L. Cordero for a free consultation today at (305) 445-4855.