Domestic Partnership vs Marriage in Florida
What you need to know about same sex marriages and domestic partnership in Florida
When explaining the difference between domestic partnership and marriage, it is necessary to look at the definition of each type of relationship. According to Wikipedia, the online dictionary:
“A domestic partnership is an interpersonal relationship between two individuals who live together and share in common domestic life but are not married (to each other or anyone else).”
Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouses. It establishes rights and obligations between them, as well as between them and their children…….”
In Florida, there is no statewide recognition of domestic partnership. Only the counties of Palm Beach, Volusia, Broward, Orange, Pinellas, Miami-Dade, Leon, Monroe, and Sarasota recognize domestic partnerships, enabling legal benefits for those couples. Legal issues which can come up include distribution of assets should the couple decide to separate. Child support and parenting plans will be easier in counties where domestic partnerships are recognized. Still, these issues are court-mandated for all parents of minor children, birthed or adopted, whether the parents are married, living together, or simply the biological parents or adopted parents of a child. (Some adopted children have only one parent.) Minor children are children from birth to age l8 and beyond if a child cannot support themselves for physical or mental reasons.
Marriage, on the other hand, brings with it a greater legal responsibility both to each party and to any minor children created or adopted by the couple. Suppose a marriage is to be dissolved in a divorce (dissolution of marriage), there will be many issues to consider, including the type of divorce, simple uncontested or contested divorce, mediation, or going before a judge. When there are minor children, for example, a simple divorce is not allowed. If mediation fails and a court date is set, there will be many hurdles to jump, including depositions, interrogatories, orders to produce, and the gathering of proof for the outcomes you are seeking. Such benefits as alimony, equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities, and who gets the pets are potentially available to a married couple. (In Florida, marital assets and liabilities are divided fairly, termed equitable distribution, not equally as in some states).
An aspect of marriage that has been law since January 6, 2015, is the legality in Florida of same-sex marriage. All same-sex marriages are to be licensed, and the license is treated the same as traditional opposite-sex marriages. Same-sex marriage licenses from states other than Florida are also to be recognized in Florida. As same-sex marriage is considered as legally binding as opposite-sex marriage, all the guidelines and laws of a Florida dissolution of marriage found in the state Statute Chapter 61 apply. In other words, a same-sex marriage in Florida is as valid and legally binding as an opposite-sex marriage.
If you are considering a divorce and live in Florida in the counties of Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, or Hillsborough or New York or Washington DC, Attorney Grant Gisondo, a board-certified Family Law Attorney with over a decade of successfully representing clients, can help. He offers a free, initial, in-office consultation where you can get to know him personally, and he can answer general questions you will have. To make an appointment, please call his office at
(561) 530-4568. His office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday for new clients from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM. You can learn more about Attorney Gisondo and his Family Law practice by checking his website http://gisondolaw.com.