When you are ending your marriage, you need a compassionate and knowledgeable divorce attorney to guide you through the process. This is especially true when you and your spouse are members of the LGBTQ community.
Contact a Coconut Grove LGBTQ divorce lawyer to help you manage your split from your spouse. We will work diligently to ensure your divorce goes smoothly and you leave your marriage prepared to resume a fulfilling life as a single person.
Basics of Divorcing in Coconut Grove
Florida did not allow same-sex marriage until 2015 when the Supreme Court struck down laws preventing it. Couples who were married in other states before the law changed are sometimes concerned that they may not be able to get divorced here.
There is no cause for concern. Anyone who meets the basic requirements to obtain a local divorce can do so. One of the spouses must have lived in Florida for at least six months and the divorce petition must be filed in the county where one or both spouses live. A Coconut Grove LGBTQ divorce attorney could ensure a spouse chooses the correct location to file the divorce petition.
A divorce petition must cite a reason for the divorce. Most couples cite their belief that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The only other legal ground is that one spouse is mentally incapacitated. The petitioning spouse must prove that the other spouse is confined to a psychiatric institution and their condition is not expected to improve.
Dissolving an LGBTQ Couple’s Relationship
Once a couple decides to divorce, they must decide several issues before a court can issue a divorce. Some couples can do this before they file, which allows them to pursue an uncontested divorce. Others do not resolve their issues until after one of them has filed for divorce and legal proceedings have started.
A couple that cannot resolve the relevant issues while the divorce is pending may have a divorce trial, and a Judge will hear the evidence and decide the remaining issues. Avoiding a trial usually results in an outcome that is more workable and settling before trial saves time, money, and stress.
Issues Regarding Property and Finances
The laws surrounding property division and alimony are the same for an LGBTQ couple divorcing as for a heterosexual couple. Florida Statute § 61.075 requires couples to divide all marital property equitably. An equitable distribution is not necessarily an even split, although it can be.
If a Judge must make the decision on dividing the marital property, they will consider:
- The length of the marriage;
- Each spouse’s economic and non-economic contributions to their household;
- How much personal property each spouse will take from the marriage;
- Each spouse’s education and employment history and capacity to support themselves;
- Any other factors the Judge thinks relevant.
The Judge will try to ensure that one spouse does not leave the marriage well-off while the other is struggling.
One factor that sometimes complicates LGBTQ divorces is when a couple was together for years before it was legal for them to marry. A Coconut Grove attorney could ensure that a proposal reflects the time the LGBTQ couple lived together as spouses, not just the time they were legally married.
Issues Regarding Children
Both spouses have equal rights to the custody of any children of the marriage. When a same-sex couple adopts a child together or uses assisted reproductive technology to have a baby, they both have legal parental rights.
The matter can become complicated when one partner has a biological or adoptive child from a prior relationship and the child’s other legal parent is alive. Only legal parents have custody and visitation rights, so the current spouse would not have those rights unless they adopted the child.
If the child’s other legal parent dies, abandons them, or agrees to an adoption, the current spouse of the parent could adopt the child. The adoptive parent would then have custody rights in a divorce. These issues can become complicated, so it is best to consult a Coconut Grove attorney well before a divorce if there is a question about whether both same-sex parents have parental rights.
Reach Out to a Coconut Grove Attorney for Help with LGBTQ Divorce Issues Today
Just as the same laws now apply to marriages between traditional couples and those in the LGBTQ community, the same laws also apply to divorce. However, some issues arise more frequently in LGBTQ divorces, and you need to work with a legal representative from The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm who can anticipate those issues and deal with them effectively.
Our Coconut Grove LGBTQ divorce lawyers provide excellent family law services to all members of the community. Schedule a free case evaluation today.