FAQs on family law needs of same-sex couples in Florida

Now that marriage equality has come to the U.S., what are some of the legal needs of same-sex couples?

I am already in a long-term committed relationship. What are the legal benefits of marriage?

Same-sex couples can create many of the same benefits available to married couples through cohabitation agreements, estate planning and other legal tools. Further, many counties in Florida have offered domestic partnerships and civil unions to committed same-sex partners.

So is there any need to get married when you already have some legal protections in place?

While every circumstance is unique, there can be benefits to legal marriage not provided through civil unions, domestic partnerships and cohabitation agreements. For example, many federal benefits only apply to legally married couples. Absent a legal marriage, you may not qualify for your partner's Medicaid benefits or Social Security benefits until you are legally married.

What benefit does a prenuptial agreement provide if Florida legally recognizes my marriage?

It is true that Florida law offers certain protections to married couples who are divorcing; this is one of the main benefits of marriage equality. For example, in divorce proceedings Florida courts will divide property equitably if divorcing couples cannot agree on a split themselves.

But a prenuptial agreement can be an important financial tool in many marriages. A prenuptial agreement can reduce the time and cost of divorce, while also ensuring each partner to the marriage is fully aware of the financial assets and obligations of the other.

What about adoption?

In Florida, it has long been possible for same-sex couples to adopt from private adoption agencies. And in 2010, Florida overturned its ban on gay adoption. However, despite the equality now given to same-sex marriages across the U.S., the increasing awareness that children raised in same-sex homes do as well as children raised in traditional marriages, it is still difficult for married same-sex couples to adopt from Florida's foster system.

There may also be legal concerns associated with surrogacy and in-vitro fertilization that should be taken into account when a same-sex couple is looking to expand their family.

Who should I contact for more questions?

In family law, your situation and goals are an important part of what you need to accomplish from a legal perspective. Because every situation is unique, it is best to contact an experienced family law attorney regarding your specific questions and legal issues.

At Damore, Delgado & Romanik , our experienced attorneys understand the legal issues facing same-sex couples in the wake of marriage equality in the U.S.

Contact our office to discuss your situation. We would be happy to discuss your legal issue.