Same-sex couple facing asset division challenges in Florida

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Under normal circumstances, a Florida couple seeking a divorce is not really considered news. What happens, though, when a same-sex couple attempts to dissolve their marriage in this southern state? Since Florida does not recognize same-sex unions, divorce becomes a tricky matter, and dividing marital property is suddenly a serious headache. Now, two women who are seeking a divorce in Florida are pushing for marriage equality in the state — not so they can wed, but so they can “untie” the knot.

The couple in question married in Massachusetts four years ago. That state is one of 17 that permit same-sex unions throughout the nation. Florida does not recognize same-sex marriage.

When the couple decided to pursue a divorce, they consulted experts in Massachusetts for advice. The answer was disheartening: They would have to move back to Massachusetts for a year before they could officially file. Since that life-changing move was not feasible, one of the woman chose to file for divorce in Florida, anyway.

Even though news reports show that judges in the state of Florida have granted same-sex divorces in the past, those cases have largely flown under the radar. Now, this couple is striving to bring those asset division cases into the light by claiming that a ban on same-sex marriage has a deleterious effect on same-sex divorce, not to mention the fact that it is unconstitutional. The couple in this case have already come to a legal agreement about dividing their marital property through collaborative methods, but they are still pursuing additional rights through the Florida court system.

Many Florida couples struggle through the asset division phase of their divorce. A Florida attorney may be able to provide additional information and assistance to ensure that clients receive their fair share of the marital estate. These professionals may serve as important allies in a divorce courtroom or mediation proceeding.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, “Tampa couple’s divorce could challenge same-sex marriage ban” Leonora LaPeter Anton, Mar. 24, 2014