Beyond Marriage Equality: Understanding LGBTQ Divorce
Are you aware of the unique challenges that LGBTQ couples face when it comes to divorce? When it comes to LGBTQ divorce, navigating the legal landscape can be complex. If you find yourself in this situation and need assistance, an Orlando FL LGBTQ divorce attorney can provide the guidance you require.
LGBTQ divorce involves the dissolution of marriages or partnerships between individuals of the same gender. This area of family law addresses issues such as property division, child custody, and alimony for LGBTQ couples.
While the legal framework is similar to heterosexual divorce, LGBTQ couples may encounter specific legal and societal nuances that require a legal professional.
Below is an overview of the key points of this article.
- LGBTQ divorce has been legal in Florida since same-sex marriage was legalized in 2015.
- LGBTQ couples face unique challenges in divorce due to evolving laws.
- Requirements for LGBTQ divorce include residency, filing in the correct county, and valid legal grounds.
- Marriage in another state is valid for divorce in Florida, even if it occurred before 2015.
- Spousal support (alimony) may be granted based on financial disparities.
- Child custody and visitation arrangements are decided based on the child’s best interests.
- Custody factors include parent-child relationships, living conditions, and physical or mental health.
- Judges can make adjustments to child support, but they must provide written justification.
Is It Legal to Have an LGBTQ Divorce in Florida?
LGBTQ spouses have the option to divorce in Florida, but it’s important to note that LGBTQ divorce cases are relatively recent. This is because same-sex marriage was only legalized in Florida a few years ago.
In 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that states couldn’t prohibit same-sex couples from marrying, making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, including Florida. With the right to marry also comes the right to divorce.
However, divorcing as a same-sex couple can be more complex. Florida’s laws are still catching up with these changes, and LGBTQ couples often face unique situations and challenges that heterosexual couples rarely encounter.
What Are the Requirements for an LGBTQ Divorce?
Let’s go over the essential criteria for couples seeking a divorce in Florida. Keep in mind that these rules are the same for both same-sex and heterosexual couples. Here they are:
- One of the spouses must have been a Florida resident for a minimum of six months before filing for divorce.
- The divorce petition must be submitted in the county where at least one spouse resides.
- Valid legal grounds for divorce must exist within the marriage.
It’s important to know that Florida doesn’t consider fault-based reasons like cruelty or adultery for divorce. Instead, there are only two grounds for divorce in the state. One is when a spouse is mentally incapacitated, and the other spouse must provide medical evidence to prove it.
The second reason is when the marriage is considered “irretrievably broken,” which is also a no-fault basis. In this case, there’s no need to blame either spouse or provide specific reasons for the divorce.
What If I Get Married in Another State?
If you got married in another state, you can still get divorced in Florida. It doesn’t matter if you were married when same-sex marriage and divorce weren’t yet legal in Florida. The Florida Supreme Court has confirmed that divorces will be granted for those who married before 2015.
Is Spousal Support Available in an LGBTQ Divorce?
Florida courts can grant spousal support, known as alimony when there’s a financial imbalance in the marriage and one spouse would face financial hardship without assistance. It’s important to note that alimony is less likely to be awarded when both spouses have similar incomes or when a spouse has the potential to earn as much as the other.
The court aims to avoid situations where a spouse relies entirely on support. When determining spousal support, the court considers various factors, such as:
- Marriage duration
- Marital living standard
- Spouses’ work capacity, considering health
- Property division in divorce
- Contributions in the marriage, including chores and childcare
A judge can also consider any other factors that might be relevant to the case at hand.
How Are Child Custody and Visitation Handled in a Florida LGBTQ Divorce?
Parents, whether heterosexual or LGBTQ, typically share equal rights and responsibilities concerning minor children. When couples, regardless of their identity, decide to separate in Florida, they must determine legal custody and physical custody arrangements.
Legal custody involves a parent’s authority to make decisions impacting a child’s well-being and health, which can be shared jointly or granted to one parent exclusively. Physical custody pertains to a parent’s presence in their child’s life. In Florida, parents seeking shared custody must establish a Parenting Plan and Time-Sharing Agreement, outlining how the child’s time will be divided between them, whether equally or unequally.
The parent with more time is the custodial parent, while the other has visitation. If parents can’t agree on time-sharing, an Orange County family court judge may intervene, taking various factors into account during custody disputes such as:
- Parent-child relationships
- Living conditions and child support abilities
- Physical and mental health of parents
- Child’s current and post-divorce living arrangements
- Child’s preference (if mature enough)
In the end, custody is determined based on what’s best for the child, not the parent’s interests.
Is Child Support Available From Same-Sex Parents?
In Florida, both legal parents of minor children must financially support them. The support amount is determined by how much each parent would contribute to the child’s upbringing if they were still together. This obligation is then divided between the parents according to their incomes, which includes all income sources, such as:
- Social security benefits
The support obligation is modified by considering child-related expenses directly covered by each parent, like health insurance and daycare. Additionally, a parent’s obligation is reduced based on the number of overnights they have with the child, as they are considered to be supporting the child directly.
It’s important to note that child support follows a strict formula defined by Florida law, and the court usually cannot deviate from this calculation.
Why Do I Need an LGBTQ Divorce Attorney in Florida?
Divorce can be a stressful time, especially when multiple parties with different interests are involved. That’s why having a team of legal professionals by your side is crucial to protect your interests.
Hiring a Florida LGBTQ divorce lawyer can significantly impact the outcome of your case. We prioritize securing a fair divorce settlement and commit our law firm’s resources to your case. When you choose our legal team, you can count on us to:
- Thoroughly research your case to leave no stone unturned
- Negotiate with the other party while prioritizing your interests for fair proceedings
- Conduct investigations when needed to fully represent your interests
- Assign a trusted trial attorney to your case if required
Your Trusted Legal Partner in LGBTQ Divorce in Florida
If you’re facing the complexities of LGBTQ divorce in Florida, Perez-Calhoun Law Firm, P.A. is here to provide the right legal assistance you need. Our trusted Orlando FL LGBTQ divorce attorney understands the unique challenges that LGBTQ couples may encounter during divorce proceedings.
With our years of experience and deep commitment to your well-being, we’ll work tirelessly to protect your rights, guide you through the legal process, and ensure a fair resolution. Don’t navigate this difficult journey alone. Contact Perez-Calhoun Law Firm, P.A. today to schedule a free initial consultation and discover how we can be your trusted partner in achieving a successful outcome in your LGBTQ divorce case.
Our law firm can also represent you in Military Divorce, Business Formation, and Business Litigation. Your peace of mind and legal needs are our top priorities, and we are here to support you every step of the way.