Navigating A Same-Sex Divorce In Florida
It is never easy to know when to quit, and this includes filing for divorce. It can be overwhelming to think about restructuring the fabric of your entire life. This could not be more true for same-sex couples, who fought so hard for the right to legally marry, but now have come to the realization that they can no longer be with their partner. Same-sex divorce is complicated because of the implications of dividing marital property, especially if couples lived together and owned property jointly years before tying the knot. Limited case law on the subject also presents a challenge, but our Tampa attorneys at Bubley & Bubley can assist if you are seeking to file divorce from a same-sex partner in Florida.
Grounds for Same-Sex Divorce in Florida
The landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges solidified the right to marry a same-sex partner in the United States. Same-sex couples who have the right to legally marry also have the right to divorce. To seek a divorce in Florida, the couple must have lived in the state for at least a year prior in order to establish residency, and so that Florida courts have personal jurisdiction over the case. Florida is a no-fault divorce state, meaning if adultery, cruelty or constructive abandonment did occur, it is not necessary for the plaintiff to meet the burden of proof of moving forward with that ground, rather the plaintiff can simply state irreconcilable differences as to why they are seeking absolute divorce.
Dividing Marital Property
While the correct procedure for filing a divorce complaint is similar for all couples, LGBTQIA+ parties must confront challenging decisions during the equitable division process. Often same sex couples may have lived together as partners for years prior to the ability to get legally married, all the while collection personal and real property together, in addition to joint liabilities. After marriage, same sex couples may have also altered life insurance and health insurance policies as they were finally granted the right to add a same-sex partner to the policy, but this only makes divorce more complex.
Equitable division of real and personal property is a three step process. Property must be named, valued, and divided equitably before a divorce is final. Because property owned before the marriage is generally considered separate, most courts will not consider it for the purposes of equitable division. One way to simplify a potential divorce later in life is for same-sex couples considering marriage to draft a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement. Disgruntled partners cannot turn the hands of time back, but seeking the advice of a credible LGBTQIA+ divorce attorney can help ease the transition.
Contact LGBTQIA Friendly Tampa Attorneys at Bubley & Bubley
If the end of your marriage is on the horizon, you may have several questions about what to expect as you take the next step. Our Tampa family lawyers at Bubley & Bubley have decades of combined experience handling both family law and estate cases and are dedicated to assisting members of the LGBTQIA community. Call today to schedule a consultation.