Same Sex Marriages and Domestic Partnerships
What you need to know about same sex marriages and domestic partnerships
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 to anyone else).”
In the state of Florida there is no statewide recognition of domestic partnerships. However, nine counties do recognize domestic partnership and they are Palm Beach, Monroe, Broward, Miami-Dade, Pinellas, Orange, Leon, Sarasota, and Volusia. Legal issues surrounding these relationships including, but not limited to, separation involving distribution of assets, child support and parental timesharing (formally termed child custody and visitation rights) can be very complicated and take an attorney well versed in family law to handle the case.
For many years a high percentage of couples in domestic partnerships were same sex partners. However, this is changing rapidly as marriage of same sex partners is now legal. On January 6, 2015 same sex marriage in the state of Florida was legalized. The state is now required to license same sex marriages and additionally recognize same sex marriage licenses from other states. This date also signifies that same sex married couples can file for a divorce, now termed dissolution of marriage. In other words, there is now, in the State of Florida, equity of marriage. This means that any and all marriages duly licensed by a county clerk of court and married by a person authorized to preform a marriage ceremony will be recognized in Florida courts.
An interesting note to add to the equity between same and opposite sex marriage is the fact that on January 24, 2015, just shortly after same sex marriage became legal in the state of Florida, Florida’s department of Child and Families issued a memo to community based care agencies essentially instructing then that now same sex married couples can adopt children jointly. Previous to this ruling one parent could adopt a child while the other parent had to go through what is termed a second-parent adoption. Now a second-parent adoption, where an unmarried partner can adopt the biological or adopted child of their unmarried partner, will apply only to couples in a domestic partnership.
To sum up what you need to know about same sex marriages it can be said, at least in the legal world, that the same laws that apply to marriage, divorce, and adoption for opposite sex marriages now apply to same sex marriages. Many of the same guidelines also apply to domestic partnerships but there are some differences, depending on the individuals’ situation. As is almost always true when trying to sort out a legal concern it is wise to consult and hire an attorney. If you live in the Florida counties of West Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, Monroe, or Hillsborough, family law attorney Grant Gisondo whose practice is in West Palm Beach can answer your questions and give counsel and representation to same-sex couples as well as those in a domestic partnership. You can call his office at (561) 530-4568 to make an appointment for a free, initial, in-office, personal consultation.