Thursday, May 15, 2014
Same Sex Divorce Not Granted in Tampa, Florida
In March I blogged about a case in Tampa, Florida wherein a gay couple was wishing to have a divorce granted by a Judge. The couple was married in Massachusetts and had a valid marriage in Massachusetts. They moved to Florida and are now residents of the State of Florida. They came to settlement terms and simply requested that the Judge ratify their agreement and grant them their divorce. The Tampa Judge declined to grant them a divorce based upon the premise that Florida does not recognize their marriage, therefore, a divorce is an impossibility. Therefore, because of different state residency laws as it relates to obtaining a divorce, unless the parties were to establish residency in a State that recognizes their marriage, they will still be married. The decision of the trial court will, of course, be appealed. I will continue to follow this case and provide my readers with updates about the case, but I presume that if at some point the appellate court, or the State Supreme Court overturn the ruling of the trial court, this will open many doors for gay couples in Florida to dissolve their marriages if they so choose. There is no question that laws are different from state to state, and what may good law in one state, may not be good law in another. How is this particular issue resolved when under most circumstances, you most be a resident of the State in which you are seeking a divorce to be granted a divorce? I'm sure this couple is not the only couple within the United States to have this issue and I'm interesting to know how other states have handled it. I guess we'll stay tuned. The reality is that if the appellate process overturns the result of the trial court there will be precedence that Florida recognizes same sex marriages that were solemnized in a state that allows same sex unions.