Our Family Law service at the John Vernon Moore Law Offices includes our extensive experience in LGBTQ+ Family Law issues in Florida.
On January 5, 2015, the temporary stay on issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Florida was lifted. Florida had ruled the August prior that the 2008 same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, making Florida the 36thstate to legalize gay marriage. Consequently, same-sex divorce was also legalized because the institution of marriage between same-sex couples was finally acknowledged.
The John Vernon Moore Law Office has the knowledge and experience necessary to answer questions and handle the variety of legal issues specifically faced by same-sex couples and their families.
Because divorcing LGBT couples are treated the same by law as divorcing heterosexual couples, the issues they face with an impending divorce are largely the same as the issues many couples have faced for years. Issues such as:
- Same-sex divorce.
- Custody and support of children (including biological and nonbiological children).
- Preparing pre and post-nuptial agreements.
- Alimony - Disagreements over alimony are a common point of contention in divorce. Factors considered when deciding alimony include duration of the marriage, age, standard of living, salary, and more.
- Helping same-sex couples maximize all legal rights after legally marrying in Florida.
- Property division - Division of property in Florida divorces is equitable, taking into consideration separate and marital property. Equitable does not mean equal, so deciding which spouse is entitled to which of the marital properties can be difficult.
- Preparing powers of attorney, wills, healthcare directives, designations of preneed guardian and other legal documents to solidify legal rights and plan for the future.
The 2015 Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage is a promising sign that puts LGBT couples and their families on equal footing with their straight counterparts. However, there are many legal questions resulting from the interpretation and ramifications of this ruling which will arise for years to come. Gay and lesbian couples in Florida still face discriminatory practices and tangible barriers that undermine their goals, security and dignity while also violating their constitutionally guaranteed rights.
The Law Office of John Vernon Moore provides comprehensive legal counsel and representation to the LGBT community in Brevard County, FL. We work to help our clients plan for the future, solve problems, and exercise the full complement of equal rights guaranteed to them under the law.
ADDRESSING PROBLEMS OF EQUITY AND ACCESS
Although the law has changed, it is going to take more time for people and institutions to accept the change. You may find still yourself fighting to protect your constitutionally guaranteed rights. These are issues of simple fairness, but resolving these matters often requires creative solutions through a hybrid of family law, estate law, civil contract law and civil rights advocacy.
Our law office can knowledgeably address the unique legal matters that gay and lesbian parents encounter, from second-parent adoption and same-sex surrogacy arrangements to disputes over child custody, property and financial support. When possible, we employ collaborative process for dispute and conflict resolution, with a goal of building bridges between parents rather than tearing families apart.
With the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex married couples will be able to get divorces according to the same rules as heterosexual couples. However, some unique issues may arise in connection with child custody. If you are concerned about an aspect of your same-sex marriage with regards to your children, or if you are considering a divorce in Brevard County, Florida, the Law Office of John Vernon Moore may be able to help.
In Florida, before filing for a divorce one of the spouses must live in the state for at least six months. The spouse who files for a divorce can do so in the Florida county where the parties last resided with the intent to remain married.
When both same-sex parents are the legal parents of their children, they have equal rights. Under F.S.A. § 61.13(3), the court can evaluate all of the factors affecting the children's welfare and interests to determine an appropriate Parenting Plan and time-sharing, or otherwise known as “custody”. In other words, the court will look at the best interests of the children, just as they do when the parents are heterosexual.
In Florida, the courts recognize that it is best for minors to have continuing and frequent contact with both parents. When possible, the court will order shared parental responsibility so that each legal parent retains his or her full parental rights and obligations. Shared parental responsibility has two parts: parental responsibility, which refers to the authority to make religious, medical, educational, or other critical decisions for the children, and time-sharing, which refers to time spent with the children. If the court finds that shared parenting duties would harm a child, the court may order sole custody for one parent as to one or both of these aspects of custody. A parent who has most of the time-sharing will likely receive child support based on a statutory formula that considers income, percentage time-share, and other expenses such as health insurance for the child and employment-related daycare.
Sometimes only one of the spouses in a same-sex marriage is the "legal" parent of one or more children. For example, a same-sex couple may have informally used artificial insemination using one partner's egg in order to have a child prior to getting married, back when same-sex couples were not allowed to adopt in Florida. If the couple never signed adoption paperwork to formalize the other parent's legal status, the other parent may not have the same rights as the biological parent.
The John Vernon Moore Law Office can help you if any of the following apply to you:
- You were married in another state and wish to obtain a same-sex divorce in Florida.
- You were married in Florida and need to obtain a divorce or annulment in Florida.
- You reside in the state of Florida and were served divorce papers.
- You were married in Florida or another state and need help with child custody, alimony, or other family law issues related to divorce.
The John Vernon Moore Law Office can help you anticipate conflicts and proactively assert your rights. Even if you and your partner are in excellent financial and physical health, a sudden change of events may jeopardize everything you've worked hard to build.