As the battle over same-sex marriage continues in many states, couples in Florida face a related battle. Same-sex couples married in states other than Florida are now seeking to divorce in Florida, but judges are refusing to grant divorces because the state doesn’t allow same-sex marriage in the first place.
One couple was married in 2010 in Massachusetts and later moved to Florida. They decided to file for divorce in January and their attorneys reportedly attempted to file paperwork for an uncontested divorce in March. In April, a judge ruled that a divorce could not be granted in Florida.
One attorney said his client planned to appeal the ruling. One of the arguments the attorney is bringing is that the divorce would not be in violation of a Florida ban on same-sex marriage. In fact, the divorce would end the marriage that was actually a violation of the ban.
The attorneys also plan to argue that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is in violation of both the U.S. Constitution’s and Florida’s equal protection clauses. Courts in at least two other states recently decided on same-sex divorces despite a state ban on same-sex marriage. One state made it possible for all same-sex couples to get divorced, though it didn’t strike its ban on same-sex marriage. In another state, a court granted a divorce in spite of the marriage ban.
The laws that govern both marriage and divorce vary from state to state, so its important to consider such things when moving. Living in another state can change the way you must approach a myriad of family law topics, including child support, child custody and alimony.
Source: Tampa Bay Times, “Citing ban on gay marriage, judge refuses to grant divorce to same-sex couple” No author given, May. 09, 2014