LGBTQ / Same Sex Divorce
Florida law oddly still contains statutory prohibitions on same sex marriage. Yet contrary to what one might read in statute, same sex marriage is, in fact, legal in the State of Florida, as is same sex divorce. Before the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges, which ratified the right for same sex persons to marry throughout the United States, same sex marriage was already legal in Florida under the conclusions set forth in the January 2015 decision, Brenner v. Scott.
Given these legal precedents, and despite the dictates of Florida statute, same sex marriage is recognized throughout the state. The legal right to marriage is held by all people, including all members of the LGBTQ community. As one has the right to marry, they also have the right to divorce.
Regardless of sexual orientation or gender, the experienced attorneys at the Family Law Advocates are ready to help with all aspects of dissolving your marriage. The potential legal issues in any divorce case are the same, including:
Not all marriages involve children. When they do, issues of child custody and child support must also be resolved. However, when dealing with same sex unions, Florida law presents some significant challenges related to custodial rights that a non biological parent might have. Our family law team can help you assess your rights and options regarding child custody, parental rights, and time sharing in your same sex marriage or relationship.Child Custody Issues in a Same Sex Family Law Case
Child custody and visitation rights can be a big point of contention in any divorce or paternity case. The potential issues can be amplified when dealing with a child and a same sex relationship.
If both parties to the marriage have legally adopted a child, they will both have rights to custody and time sharing. However, in cases of artificial insemination or surrogacy, the other birth parents’ rights will also need to be factored in. If that other biological parent waives their rights to the child, then a valid stepparent adoption could occur. Likewise, in cases in which one parent brings a child of another relationship into the marriage, the other parent could consent to adoption. While there are various scenarios in which rights could be gained for a same sex spouse or partner, the reality is that the law does not afford a remedy in all situations. Until statute catches up with the evolved family dynamics of today, parties and attorneys are bound by current legal norms. In any situation, our first step will be to provide our clients with an honest assessment of what rights they may have to custody of a child. Of course, a valid adoption confers rights to both parents, biological or not.
There are situations in which a LGBTQ parent may be without any legal rights to the children. With no adoption, they may be in a situation in which they are reliant on their spouse to agree to visitation or custodial rights. If an agreement is reached, set out in a parenting plan, and adopted by the court, it will then be enforceable and legal rights will be conferred. While no attorney can force an agreement in court, as skilled negotiators, we can help negotiate a parenting plan situation that allows for a continuation of your relationship with the child you’ve helped care for.
As you can see, the issues surrounding custody of the children are more complicated in a LGBTQ divorce. When you find yourself involved in a situation like this, you need the right family law firm representing your interests. Each case is unique and no two cases are exactly alike. Regardless, our attorneys have the intellect and creativity to help advocate for your potential custodial rights.Why Hire the Family Law Advocates for Your LGBTQ Divorce
The highly experienced attorneys at the Family Law Advocates serve the entire Tampa region, including Hillsborough County, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and surrounding areas. With significant experience in family law, our attorneys understand what’s needed to effectively resolve your case. Our only goal is obtaining the best possible outcome and future for you and your family.
Call the Family Law Advocates today, at (813) 592-5000, to schedule your initial consultation. You can also contact us online to take the first step in getting the help you need. Put our aggressive and experienced family law team to work for you.