Many same-sex couples were ecstatic in 2015 when it became legal to marry in Florida. Just a few days after that historic day, the Tampa Bay Timespublished an article that chronicled the experiences of a woman who was jubilant for a completely different reason: Florida would also have to allow same-sex couples to divorce.
“It was a very liberating moment,” the woman told the newspaper. “All of the angst, frustration and anxiety that was just under the surface was finally released.”
In this issue, we’ll talk more about same-sex divorce in Florida.
How many same-sex couples are in Florida??
Census information from the Williams Institute tells us there are nearly 50,000 same-sex couples in Florida, the third highest rate in the U.S. behind New York and California. While 51% of such couples in the United States are female, women make up approximately 64% of gay marriages in the U.S.
Are same-sex couples more likely than straight couples to divorce?
Current research and data reveals the exact opposite. A study published by the Williams Institute reveals that same-sex couples divorce at a slightly lower rate than their heterosexual peers. The research confirmed that, on average, same-sex couples divorce at a rate of about 1.1% — compared to the 2% annual divorce rate between heterosexual couples.
How is same-sex divorce different in Florida?
Many issues common with heterosexual couple divorces are found in same-sex separations. For example, division of assets and property, alimony, child support, parental responsibility, etc.
Just as with heterosexual divorces, there are two types of same-sex divorces: settled and contested.
As a licensed attorney for over 23 years and a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator, I firmly believe that divorce mediation can be a big help in assisting both same-sex and heterosexual couples obtain a peaceful and amicable settled divorce marked by open communication and agreement.
A big challenge for same-sex couples facing divorce, however, revolves around any children they have together. If both partners adopted a child during their marriage, they will both enjoy the same parental rights as heterosexual partners. This includes custody and child support arrangements based upon “the best interests of the child.” This is the same standard applicable to heterosexual divorces.
If a sperm donor or surrogate was used to have children, the Court will generally not view one of the partners as a biological parent. This is especially true if that partner did not choose to adopt the child.
If you’re considering same-sex divorce in Florida, call Peaceful Split Mediation:
For all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, divorce can be incredibly complex matter. Emotions and anxiety quickly create environments that cause costly mistakes. Divorce mediation, however, creates an environment of calm and ease. It is in this mindset that you will be able to collaboratively resolve your differences to achieve your individual and collective interests.
Just as with an opposite-sex divorce, if you are in a gay marriage in Florida and do not have a divorce agreement in place before you go to court, you will be most likely be required by the court to take part in divorce mediation.
Here at PeacefulSplit™ Florida Divorce Mediation, our sole mission is guide, comfort, and assist you and your spouse or partner so that you can obtain a peaceful divorce. Most importantly, we never judge you based upon your values, beliefs, culture or sexual orientation.
If you and your spouse are ready for a PeacefulSplit™ Mediation, or are just contemplating divorce, I am here to help by answering all of your questions and explaining to the both of you the benefits of a PeacefulSplit™ Mediation.
If you are ready to divorce, want to avoid a financially and emotionally draining legal battle, and desire an economical “PeacefulSplit™ Mediation” or just want more information about the divorce mediation process, then Attorney and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, Eric B. Epstein, Esq., is ready to assist you. I can be reached at 954-272-8292.