Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Same Sex Marriage Divorce?

This week I had a question about whether you can divorce in Florida if you were married to your same-sex partner in another state and happened upon a story along the same subject involving Martina Navratilova. Ms. Navratilova is coming under a great deal of scrutiny from the gay community for hiding behind Florida's laws regarding same sex marriage in order to protect her assets. Florida does not recognize civil unions or gay marriages from other states, therefore, if you were married in a state that recognizes gay marriage or civil unions, you are not going to be able to file for a divorce in Florida. The Florida courts cannot dissolve something that the State does not recognize. What are you to do if you were married to your gay partner in another state? I have researched this issue, and unfortunately have not really found anything that could shed light on this topic, but for now, it appears that Florida would not recognize your marriage, therefore, you could not seek a divorce. You could file partition actions to split up joint property, but that may be your only legal remedy. If anyone has any comments or suggestions on this topic, please post your comments here for me to share with the rest of my readers.



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Martha New Milam said...

One option is to return to the state where the marrige took place, establish residency there and then file for divorce.
Martha New Milam
Attorney At law
Durham, NC

Anonymous said...

Martha New Milam is right. It is not that complicated, but a big pain in the you know what if you run off to another state to get married but really live in a state that won't recognize the marriage. There will be problems with splitting property depending on where the property is located.

Until we have a somewhat, uniform national gay marriage act similar to child custody, etc., I recommend that my clients avoid going to another state to get married unless they plan on moving to that state permanently.