Winter Park Same Sex Couples Attorney
Family Lawyer in Winter Park Assisting with Legal Issues Affecting Same Sex Couples
Same-sex marriages have been legal in Florida since January 2015. Later that same year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the rights of same-sex couples to marry and that states must grant same-sex marriages. While same-sex couples in Florida have the same rights and responsibilities as opposite-sex couples under Florida state and federal law, same-sex couples continue to face some legal issues that are specific to them. In particular, some same-sex couples in Florida choose to remain unmarried for political and other reasons, but they want to ensure that their rights are protected.
We want to say more about same-sex marriage rights in Florida, as well as the benefits and limitations of cohabitation agreements. In every case, a Winter Park same sex couples attorney can assist you.
Same-Sex Marriage (and Divorce) Rights in Winter Park
Same-sex couples who get married in Florida, or who get married in another state and move to Florida, have the same rights and responsibilities as opposite-sex couples under Florida law. More specifically, Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes, which governs issues related to the dissolution of marriage and child custody matters, applies equally to same-sex couples that want to get divorced. To be clear, Florida statutory law on the following matters applies the same way to an LGBT married couple as to an opposite-sex married couple:
- Filing a petition for the dissolution of marriage;
- Seeking alimony (or spousal support);
- Division of marital property according to a theory of equitable distribution;
- Choosing collaborative divorce;
- Child custody and time-sharing issues;
- Child support; and
- Modifications to alimony, child custody, and child support.
Just like an opposite-sex couple, in order to be eligible to file for divorce in Winter Park, one of the parties must have been living in the state of Florida for at least six months prior to filing the petition for dissolution of marriage.
Cohabitation Agreements or Domestic Partnership Agreements for Same-Sex Couples in Winter Park
While same-sex couples have the same rights as opposite-sex couples when it comes to issues of marriage and divorce in Winter Park, some LGBT couples do not want to get married. Florida does not have a statute that allows for civil unions as many other states do. Accordingly, an LGBT couple cannot choose to enter into a civil union as opposed to a marriage.
Like opposite-sex couples, many same-sex couples live together for years or even decades. Accordingly, they share finances, purchase property together, and commingle assets and debts. What can same-sex couples do to ensure that their rights are protected in the event that the relationship ends?
LGBT couples that are not legally married can enter into a domestic partnership agreement or a cohabitation agreement. Such an agreement is a type of contract that allows the parties to agree to such terms as, for example:
- Dividing property in the event that the relationship ends;
- Distributing assets in the event of one of the party’s death; and
- Agreeing to financial support for one of the parties in the event that the relationship ends.
Other documents that non-married same-sex couples might consider to ensure that they maintain rights and responsibilities with regard to one another might include:
- Last will and testament;
- Financial power of attorney; and
- Health care advance directives.
Contact a Winter Park Same Sex Couples Lawyer
If you are involved in a same-sex relationship and have questions about your rights under Florida law, a Winter Park same sex couples lawyer can help. Contact The Troum Law Firm, P.A. for more information.