Florida has a long history of restricting the legal recognition of same-sex couples. This stance came to an end in 2015, when it was determined that the state-level ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional on a federal level. Today, same-sex marriage is allowed in all states because of this ruling, and Florida is no exception. Even though state laws still say that same-sex marriage is illegal, they are overruled by federal laws.
What this means is that couples in Florida may now also have to navigate a same-sex divorce, something that simply was not possible before. If you are in this position, you may find that it can become a bit difficult to divide the assets that you own due to some unique circumstances you may be facing.
When did you purchase those assets?
The problem is that, because same-sex marriage was illegal for so long, many couples simply lived together without officially getting married. They would buy houses, furnish them, get jobs, buy vehicles, invest for retirement and do everything else any other married couple might do.
Generally, most of those assets would have “counted” as marital assets for opposite-sex couples who had already gotten married. But what happens to a same-sex couple that didn’t have the option to get married? Do they still have to count all of those assets as joint assets that need to be split up, or are items that were purchased before they got married still considered separate assets?
This is certainly an issue that can come up with opposite-sex couples, as well. Cohabitation is certainly common and many couples make purchases before they get married. But it is a bit different with same-sex divorce, since couples were legally prohibited from being married until rather recently.
Working through the process
You can imagine that a situation like this is going to become complicated. It’s very important to know what legal steps to take to work through this process and define which assets need to be split and how this process should be approached. Speaking with an experienced legal professional who practices in Florida can help you to understand your options.