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Florida Family & Bankruptcy Attorneys » Tampa LGBT Divorce Attorney

Tampa LGBT Divorce Attorney

lgbt-divorce.jpgDivorce is never easy. And if you’re seeking a same-sex divorce in Tampa, Florida, you could encounter additional legal challenges that don’t affect many straight couples. At Florida Law Advisers, P.A., our Tampa family law attorneys are here to provide the legal representation and support you need to navigate every aspect of your same-sex divorce case.

From property division and alimony to custody and child support, we can help you protect your legal rights and do what’s best for your family. Contact us today to learn more about your options in a free consultation with a Tampa LGBT divorce attorney.

To consult with an experienced Tampa LGBT divorce lawyer, call: 1 (800) 990-7763

How Our Tampa Lawyers Help with Same-Sex Divorce

Florida has recognized same-sex marriage as legal since 2015. However, the laws are still confusing and frequently changing. Going through a divorce when judges might not acknowledge your legal rights is frustrating and discouraging, but you don’t have to deal with this alone.

Florida Law Advisers, P.A., can protect your interests whether you’re arguing for the custody of your child, seeking alimony payments, or preserving your rights to specific assets in a same-sex divorce. Our team keeps up with the latest laws related to same-sex divorces, so you can rest assured that we’ll know exactly how to handle your case. Let us provide the advice, guidance, and support you need to address this complicated situation.

Are There Particular Challenges for People Seeking Same-Sex Divorce?

Yes. Opposite-sex and same-sex couples typically go through the same process to get divorced, but many same-sex couples encounter unique obstacles.

State laws haven’t entirely caught up with the landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in June 2015. That means many same-sex couples still face difficulties in resolving and deciding on issues such as:

  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Parenting time and visitation
  • Alimony / spousal support
  • Property division

Tampa same-sex divorce lawyer near me 1 (800) 990-7763

What Financial Issues Are There in a Same-Sex Divorce Matter?

Establishing the official start of a relationship is a significant hurdle for many same-sex couples during a divorce in Florida. The duration of a marriage is a key factor in determining how to divide marital property and whether to award alimony to one spouse.

The problem for many same-sex couples is that they might have started their relationships years or even decades before they could legally marry. Some LGBTQ spouses have also been lawfully married in other states for longer than Florida has recognized the validity of same-sex marriages. Legally speaking, that means marital assets might belong solely to one spouse or the other and not be subject to division during divorce. The same goes for marital debts.

Hiring an experienced attorney is essential when disputes arise over asset or debt division in a same-sex divorce case (as well as for civil unions or a domestic partnership). A Tampa same-sex/LGBT family lawyer from our firm can help you negotiate a favorable agreement outside the courtroom, so you could avoid letting a judge decide on everything or walking away without the assets you deserve.

What Does the Same-Sex Divorce Process Involve?

The divorce process in Florida is the same regardless of your sexual orientation. You must meet certain eligibility requirements before filing a divorce petition. Specifically, you or your spouse must have resided in the state for at least six months before initiating the divorce. The only exception is if you or your spouse live in the state but one of you serves in the military while stationed elsewhere.

Citing a legal ground for divorce isn’t necessary because Florida is a no-fault divorce state. In Florida, you can file for divorce solely based on having an irretrievably broken marriage. That means repairing your relationship and continuing in the marriage isn’t possible. Another no-fault ground for divorce is if either spouse is deemed mentally incapacitated for three years before filing the divorce petition.

Once you identify your grounds for divorce and satisfy the residency requirement, you can prepare your petition to dissolve the marriage. You must file it in the county where you and your spouse last lived with the intent of remaining married.

You’ll also need to serve your spouse with a copy of the petition. If they agree to accept the petition, they can complete and file a notarized waiver with the court. Otherwise, you will need to contact the sheriff’s office in the county of your spouse’s residence and ask them to serve the petition for you. A Tampa LGBT/same-sex family lawyer can help you determine your next steps if your spouse is in the military, in jail, or unreachable.

You must include a financial affidavit with your petition or submit it to the court within 45 days of filing the petition. The financial affidavit should contain details regarding your finances, such as your:

  • Debts
  • Income
  • Personal financial statements
  • Assets
  • Credit card statements
  • Tax returns
  • Bank statements

The judge might order you and your spouse to attend mediation before scheduling a hearing to proceed with the divorce. However, if mediation fails, you must go to trial to resolve the issues. You and your spouse can present your cases, submit evidence, and call witnesses to testify. The judge will review everything and decide on the matter.

A more streamlined way of getting divorced in Florida is by filing a specific form with the court for a simplified dissolution of marriage. You’re not required to provide financial information or follow the usual legal process in this type of simplified divorce proceeding. Instead, you can file for this type of divorce if you meet these requirements:

  • Neither of you is pregnant when you file
  • You and your spouse agree to a simplified dissolution of marriage
  • Neither of you wants alimony
  • At least one of you has lived in the state for six months
  • You and your spouse don’t have minor or dependent children
  • You both agree that saving your marriage isn’t possible
  • You and your spouse agree on asset and debt division

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Legal Rights for One Parent

If the courts don’t recognize a non-biological or non-adoptive same-sex parent as a legal parent, that person has no legal rights to shared custody or visitation. On the flip side, the child’s legal parent cannot ask the court to order their spouse to pay child support following a divorce. Negotiating the terms of custody is tricky in this type of situation, so it’s best to work with a knowledgeable Tampa LGBTQ family law attorney during a same-sex divorce involving only one legal parent.

Legal Rights for Both Parents

You and your spouse are both the child’s legal parents under any of these circumstances:

  • You or your spouse gave birth to the child, and the other legally adopted them.
  • The child was born during your marriage, and both of you signed the birth certificate.
  • You adopted the child together despite not being married.

You shouldn’t have as much trouble if you are both the child’s legal parents. If parental rights are not an issue, the court will base its decisions regarding child custody, visitation, and support matters on the child’s best interests. However, custody matters are still complex and significant, so it’s a good idea to consult a trusted attorney before finalizing custody arrangements.

Does a Non-Biological/Non-Adoptive Parent in a Same-Sex Divorce Have Rights?

The courts always consider the child’s best interests when deciding on custody in a divorce case. However, custody can be challenging to navigate during a same-sex divorce, especially if the judge has no proof of a biological or adoptive link between one spouse and their child.

A person’s rights in a child custody or support case will depend on the legal status of their parental relationship. If one spouse is the biological parent, the court presumes they have sole custody rights unless the other parent has adopted the child. As a result, a non-biological, non-adoptive parent in a same-sex divorce case might not have the right to spend time with their child, have the child live with them, or make major decisions about the child’s life.

If you are going through a same-sex divorce as a non-biological parent to a child you haven’t legally obtained through adoption, you should seek help from an experienced family law attorney in Tampa. Your Tampa LGBT family attorney can help you explore your options for establishing a legal relationship with your child.

What Are the Custody Challenges in Tampa Same-Sex Divorce Proceedings?

Child custody is complex in same-sex divorces. LGBTQ couples often blend their families, raising each other’s children from previous marriages or relationships. And sometimes, same-sex couples have children by working with donors or surrogates. That means one partner in a same-sex marriage usually isn’t biologically related to their children, making it that much harder to pursue custody in court.

Let’s explore how parental rights work for same-sex couples in Florida divorce cases.

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Contact Our Tampa Same-Sex Divorce Attorneys Today

firm logoIf you are considering or filing for same-sex divorce in Tampa, you should get in touch with the team at Florida Law Advisers, P.A., as soon as possible. We’re here to protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome on your behalf.

Contact a Tampa same-sex, LGBT family attorney today to get started with your free initial consultation session.

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Phone: (800) 990-7763

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Phone: (800) 990-7763