Tannenbaum Scro, P.L.
Call For a consultation
941-444-9092 | 866-615-4543
Spanish Language Services Available

Challenges for same-sex couples pursuing divorce

Along with the right to marry comes the right to divorce.

It's been two years since same-sex couples gained the right to marry in Florida. Shortly after the seminal court decision in Brenner v. Scott recognized this right, Florida courts also began handling same-sex divorces.

Although the dissolution process - as well as the law - is the same regardless of the genders involved, gray areas still remain when it comes to certain aspects of same-sex divorce. Gay or lesbian couples considering dissolution should be aware of these issues and seek guidance from an attorney who understands them.

Child custody: Who has parental rights?

Florida law hasn't yet caught up with the realities of same-sex marriage. There's no presumption of paternity for these couples like there is in traditional marriages. As a result, the biological parent has a significant advantage when it comes to parental rights, unless his or her spouse has formally adopted the child. This means a mother or father who functioned as a parent in every way since the child's birth could nonetheless get shut out if no adoption order is in place.

Alimony: How long was the marriage?

For many couples, alimony is a big piece of the financial puzzle in divorce. Yet spouses face an uphill battle in getting alimony if their marriage has only lasted a few years.

Why does this matter? Same-sex couples in Florida have only had the right to marry for two years. However, they may have been functionally married - that is, living together and sharing resources as a married couple would - for much longer. There may a strong argument in these cases that the technical length of the marriage should be disregarded for purposes of alimony.

Looking forward

Same-sex marriage is still very new in our state. It remains to be seen how Florida courts and lawmakers will address these challenges, whether within the existing legal framework or through an evolution of the law itself.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Tannenbaum Scro, P.L.
1990 Main Street Suite 725
Sarasota, FL 34236

Toll Free: 866-615-4543
Phone: 941-444-9092
Fax: 941-316-0515
Sarasota Law Office Map

Tannenbaum Scro, P.L.
214 S. Lucerne Circle
Orlando, FL 32801

Phone: 407-738-4379
Orlando Law Office Map