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Considerations on same-sex marriage and divorce

With Minnesota legislators recently passing a law allowing for same-sex marriage, that state last month became the first Midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage and the 11th in the country to do so. The District of Columbia also allows same-sex marriages.

The clear majority of states -- including Florida -- have not legalized same-sex marriage. Notwithstanding their ban, though, there is increased advocacy in many jurisdictions pressing for either fully legalized marriage rights for same-sex partners or greater protections accorded them that are commonplace for married heterosexual couples (such as inheritance rights, generally preferential tax treatment, health care coverage for dependents, the right to pick beneficiaries under various policies and so forth).

Commentators in this area of debate and rapidly evolving law note that, similarly to heterosexual marriages, some same-sex marriages will also end in divorce. Given that, it is important, they say, for same-sex couples who are either contemplating divorce or already involved in the process to thoroughly understand the laws of the state in which they were married relating to important aspects such as property division, spousal maintenance and other factors.

And it is also important to note what those laws provide for in a second state, as well, namely a state that a same-sex couple might move to following their legal marriage in another state. For example, it is important to note and try to fully understand the implications of a divorce in Florida -- where same-sex marriage is not legal -- for a couple who married in a state where it is.

A same-sex couple in Florida might want to consider taking advantage of various legal instruments that spell out their expectations concerning savings accounts, property division and other matters centrally linked to their relationship.

An experienced Miami family law attorney could be a valuable resource promoting their ability to do so.

Source: Huffington Post, "Tips on avoiding same-sex divorce complications," Alton Abramowitz, May 13, 2013

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