If you and your Florida same-sex spouse have decided to call it quits, you may face some difficulties if you seek a regular litigated divorce. Why? Because although Florida recognizes same-sex marriages, our divorce laws may not adequately address your particular divorce issues.
As the Arbitration Law Review explains, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in its landmark 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case. The Court did not, however, require the states to update their divorce laws accordingly. Consequently, your best divorce option may well be a mediated divorce.
A mediated divorce is considerably different than a traditional litigated divorce. For one thing, mediation is a nonjudicial procedure. You and your spouse do not go to court to get your divorce. Instead you hire a neutral mediator who then acts as your guide and facilitator as you and your spouse negotiate, compromise and resolve your own issues rather than letting a judge resolve them. This allows you both to retain control over your respective lives and also means that although a judge ultimately must approve whatever agreement you arrive at, (s)he does not need to consider Florida statutes or case law when doing so. As long as your agreement is fair and equitable, (s)he likely will approve it and grant your divorce.
Another main advantage of a mediated divorce, whether same-sex or heterosexual, is that each of you has plenty of opportunity to air your respective issues and concerns. You must do so, however, in a nonthreatening manner, and your facilitator will not allow either of you to intimidate or overwhelm the other.
Mediation allows you and your spouse to solve all the issues most divorcing couples face, including the following:
- Child custody, visitation and support arrangements
- The amount of spousal support, if any, that one of you pays the other
- The fair and equitable division of your marital property
- The division of any joint business that the two of you may own
This is educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.