In January 2015, the stay on a federal district judge’s ruling expired, and Florida officially recognized same-sex marriages. The acknowledgment of these unions also granted same-sex couples the right to formally dissolve them under state law. Skilled family law attorney Sandy T. Fox has over a decade of experience guiding clients from Miami and elsewhere in the state through the divorce process. He is Florida Bar Board Certified in marital and family law, an indication of his familiarity with the nuances of this area.Same-Sex Couples May Now Obtain Divorces in Florida
In August 2014, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle invalidated Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage. Judge Hinkle held that this prohibition violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The judge, however, stayed his order until January 5, 2015 to provide Florida the opportunity to appeal its case to the Supreme Court of the United States. The appeal was denied, and the stay expired, allowing gay and lesbian Floridians to obtain a legally recognized marriage starting on January 6, 2015.
When they received the right to marry, same-sex couples also obtained the right to divorce. Since the state previously did not recognize same-sex marriages performed in Florida or any other state, people seeking a same-sex divorce there were denied the right to a final dissolution of their marriages. Judge Hinkle’s 2014 decision now clears the way for those proceedings.
To get a divorce, a same-sex couple must meet the standard requirements for a dissolution of marriage in Florida:
- There must have been a legal marriage. Judge Hinkle’s ruling means that a same-sex marriage performed in another state satisfies this requirement.
- At least one of the spouses must have resided in Florida for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.
- Either the marriage must be irretrievably broken, or one of the spouses must have become mentally incapacitated.
If all of these requirements are met, the divorce can be finalized after a 20-day waiting period.
In cases when a couple has no minor children and agrees on the major issues of the divorce, such as the irretrievability of the marriage and the allocation of assets, the spouses may consider a simplified dissolution process. This process is generally quicker than the standard proceedings, allowing individuals to move on with their lives more smoothly. However, it may be a good idea to consult an attorney to determine if the simplified dissolution process makes sense for your specific situation.Seek Advice from a South Florida Attorney Skilled in Family Law Matters
Marriage equality is not just the right to marry. It also includes the right to divorce that opposite-sex couples have had for generations. With Florida’s recognition of same-sex unions, couples seeking the dissolution of a marriage in this state finally have equal rights with respect to this issue. Divorce lawyer Sandy T. Fox has counseled many residents of South Florida, including Aventura, Hollywood, and other cities in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. He can help you pursue a divorce settlement that protects your rights and meets your needs. To schedule a free consultation, call 800.596.0579 or visit our contact page.