Unique Issues for Same-Sex Divorces
As a result of an August 21, 2014 ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida in the case of Brenner v. Scott, same-sex marriage has been legal in the Sunshine State since January 6, 2015. On August 21, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled that Florida’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. Same-sex married couples in Florida have enjoyed the same rights as other married couples since January 2015. However, while the state has made great strides in regard to promoting and protecting the rights of LGBTQ+, there are some unique issues same-sex couples face during divorce. If you are in a same-sex marriage and are about to get a divorce, it is vital that you understand the unique issues same-sex spouses face during divorce. Below, we discuss some of the potential challenges LGBTQ+ couples may encounter during divorce.
In same-sex divorces, timesharing and child support issues can be extremely complex. In many cases, a same-sex spouse will assume they have the same legal rights to a child just because they are married to their biological or legal parent and provide care for the child. However, this is not the case. If you are not the biological parent of a child, you only get the same legal rights to the child as the other parent if you adopt the child. Therefore, if you are your child’s non-biological parent and haven’t adopted the child, you should make an effort to adopt the child before you begin the divorce process. Adopting the child will make you the child’s legal parent and thus entitle you to have legal rights to the child.
Alimony issues can also be complex in same-sex divorces. When making alimony decisions, Florida courts consider the length of the marriage. Marriage length usually determines how long alimony will last. In Florida, there are three types of marriages. They are;
- Short-term marriage
- Moderate-term marriage
- Long-term marriages
According to a recently signed law, a short-term marriage in Florida is one that lasts less than ten years. A moderate-term marriage is one that lasts between ten and twenty years. Lastly, a long-term marriage is a marriage with a duration of twenty or more years. For example, an award of durational alimony cannot exceed 60 percent of the length of a moderate-term marriage. This means that if spouses were married for fifteen years, an award of durational alimony cannot exceed nine years.
In same-sex divorces, the length of a marriage can be an issue. Remember, same-sex marriages only became legal in Florida in January 2015. Thus, if you and your spouse got married before 2015, problems may arise when calculating how long you have been legally married for purposes of alimony. Should the marriage be considered longer if you got married before the ban on same-sex marriages ended?
Contact an Orlando Divorce Lawyer
Because of the complications that may arise in a same-sex divorce, it is best to retain a skilled divorce attorney if you are about to get a same-sex divorce. Our Orlando divorce lawyers at the Arwani Law Firm are committed to serving you and helping you protect your legal rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.