Divorce 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 family lawyer.
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:
- Personal financial statements
- 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