When Florida legally recognized same-sex marriages in 2015, same-sex couples were granted the right to divorce in Florida as well. Same-sex divorce may involve distinct challenges in some cases, but an experienced West Palm Beach divorce lawyer can guide you through the process. At the Law Office of Jessica Mishali, P.A., we have experience handling complex divorces and many other related issues, such as child custody and spousal support. We are prepared to answer any questions you may have regarding a same-sex divorce and help you pursue a settlement that meets your needs.Same-Sex Divorce in Florida
Procedurally, same-sex and opposite-sex divorces are governed by the same laws and follow the same legal process. To divorce in Florida, there must have been a legal marriage between the parties. A valid marriage license issued to a same-sex couple from any state will satisfy this requirement. In addition, one or both of the spouses must have resided in Florida for at least six months prior to filing the petition for divorce. Finally, there must be legal grounds for the dissolution of marriage. Florida allows for no-fault divorce, which means that it is not necessary to prove wrongdoing on the part of either spouse to obtain a divorce. Florida recognizes two grounds for divorce: the marriage is irretrievably broken, or one of the spouses is mentally incapacitated.
While the divorce process is applied equally and available to all married couples, as a practical matter, some same-sex divorces involve challenges that would not typically arise in opposite-sex divorces. Those particularly affected may be same-sex couples who entered into a civil union, domestic partnership, or a long-term, committed relationship years before same-sex marriage was legally recognized in Florida or the United States. Because the duration of the marriage factors into some key issues, resolving them may be more complicated in same-sex divorces, especially contested divorce cases.Property Division
Marital property generally includes the income, assets, and real property acquired during the marriage. In some situations, it may also include separate property that is commingled with marital property, or jointly purchased property before the marriage. If the spouses cannot reach an agreement, their marital property is subject to equitable distribution by the court. The court will consider several factors, including the duration of the marriage, which may be more complicated in a same-sex divorce case. Issues may also arise with respect to commingled funds and property purchased before their marriage was recognized.Spousal Support
The duration of the marriage is important in determining the type of alimony that may be granted, as well as the amount of alimony, in a divorce case. In Florida, permanent spousal support is awarded only for long-term marriages. In a same-sex divorce case, it may be necessary to argue that exceptional circumstances require the award of alimony.Parenting Time
Many same-sex couples decide to raise children together through adoption, surrogate, or sperm donation. In the event of a divorce, issues concerning parenting time and child support must be addressed. Generally, both parents have equal rights and responsibilities. Difficulties may arise, however, if the non-biological parent did not legally adopt the child. A lawyer can guide you through these issues and address your concerns.Retain a Lawyer in West Palm Beach
If you are considering a same-sex divorce, it may be beneficial to discuss your options with an attorney. At the Law Offices of Jessica Mishali, P.A., we are committed to seeking a positive outcome that allows our clients to move on with their lives as smoothly and comfortably as possible following a divorce. Attorney Jessica Mishali can provide legal advice and representation to residents of West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Broward, and Martin Counties, including Boynton Beach, Indiantown, Boca Raton, Jupiter, Royal Palm Beach, Hobe Sound, Plantation, Stuart, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Delray Beach, Palm City, Wellington, Pembroke Pines, Davie, Jensen Beach, and Fort Lauderdale. Arrange a free consultation with a divorce lawyer by calling (561) 833-2772 or contacting us online.