Same-sex marriages in Florida received legal recognition in 2015. Now LGBTQ couples can utilize the court system in Florida for a divorce if something goes wrong in their relationship.
They now have rights related to same-sex child custody and support at the time of divorce.
Understanding LGBT Child Custody and Support in Florida
Child custody in Florida is called a “time-sharing” arrangement. Under this ruling, the court will decide how LGBT parental rights and responsibilities are to be divided between both parents.
For same-sex child custody, the Florida court will make use of several factors, such as:
- The parenting capabilities of each spouse
- The individual relationships with the child
- The child’s wishes
If the parents are not able to finalize a time-sharing arrangement, the court will determine which parent would be responsible for making key decisions for the child. The court’s verdict will also cover issues such as same-sex child support and visitation rights.
Same-Sex Child Custody Challenges in Florida
A family court will hear same-sex child custody and same-sex child support issues in Florida. But the laws related to LGBT marriage and divorce are still fairly new in the state. Therefore, child custody decisions in these cases can be more challenging. The court will consider what is in the child’s best interests.
In Florida, courts have denied visitation to anyone who is not the child’s legal parent. LGBT child custody and visitation can be difficult in cases where one partner is the biological parent, while the other partner hasn’t legally adopted the child. In this situation, only the biological parent will get the child’s custody.
Where Both Parties Have LGBT Parental Rights
The custody challenges in a same-sex divorce in Florida will depend on the status of an individual’s parental relationship.
It is important to understand what your legal parental relationship status is. Both parties are considered to be legal parents if the child was born into the marriage and both parents signed the birth certificate.
Secondly, if a child was formally adopted by both parties, then both will have parental rights. Where the LGBT parental rights are vested in both parties, the divorce and custody proceedings will be similar to those of heterosexual couples.
The Importance of a Shared Custody Agreement
No matter your orientation, divorce is always an emotionally painful experience – more so for the children. If you don’t have the legal parental rights in Florida, it is a prudent idea to have a legally enforceable shared custody agreement in place beforehand. Problems in a same-sex divorce can get complicated if both parties fail to agree on an arrangement of shared custody.
An experienced family law attorney can draft an enforceable shared custody agreement. If both parties are agreeable beforehand about child support and custody, it will help to encourage a smoother divorce proceeding.
Speak to a Skilled Florida Same-Sex Child Custody Lawyer
Our highly knowledgeable and compassionate legal team, led by Attorney Patrick Cordero, understands the challenges an LGBT parent can face in child custody and support issues. Trust the Lawyer of the Decade and the Minority Lawyer of the Year in Florida! Give the Law Offices of Patrick Cordero, PA a call at 305-445-4855 or email us today.