Articles Posted in Gay Divorce

That dreaded word in a divorce:  Alimony. Alimony is determined by the court after looking at one party’s actual need versus one party’s ability to pay. After equitable distribution is determined, the court reviews what money is left over, if anything, and considers the parties’ circumstances to come up with a fair award.  Some questions to answer:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Standard of living the parties are accustomed to

Divorces in Florida typically split the parties’ assets and liabilities down the middle as much as possible.  Determining what is a marital asset or liability or a non-marital asset or liability can be key to whether an asset or liability will be considered in the calculations.  Before filing for divorce, you should consider the following items when thinking about equitable distribution:

  • Previous Inheritance
  • Marital Home

In Florida, divorces with children involved primarily focus on the parenting plan first.  The parenting plan determines numerous factors in raising your children and will be the document most referred to after the divorce is finalized.  It is important that the plan is tailored to you and your children and accounts for the best interest of the children.  Before filing for divorce, you should consider whether you would like to request one of the following:

  • Shared Parental Responsibility: Both parents confer and jointly make all major decisions affecting the welfare of the children, such as education, healthcare, etc.
  • Shared Parental Responsibility with Decision Making Authority: Both parents attempt to agree on major decisions, but one parent will have the ultimate decision-making authority.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his third wife, Judith, are currently involved in a heated divorce.  A day after filing for divorce on April 4, 2018, the parties filed for each other to produce a statement of net worth to determine assets.  The Giulianis have been married for 15 years and they do not have a prenuptial agreement.

prenupIn 2007, when Rudy Giuliani submitted his financial disclosure to the Federal Election Commission while running for president, he was worth an estimated $30 million.  The couple own properties in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida.  It is estimated that there is currently an estimated $60 million in assets at stake. When he married Judith, Rudy was pretty much insolvent and the money he has now was earned while he was married to Judith.  New York is a separate property state, but her participation in his success could be a factor for the assets to be split 50/50.

In Florida, mandatory disclosure applies so the Giulianis would not need to file for a statement of net worth.  Mandatory Disclosure is the procedure where financial information is automatically disclosed by the parties upon the filing of a divorce.  The parties must exchange financial information in the form of a financial affidavit and additional documents such as tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, deeds, vehicle titles, insurance policies, etc. Mandatory disclosure must be completed within 45 days after service on the respondent.

gay_divorce_2006_thumb.jpgSame-sex marriage is only legally recognized in a few states. However, many gay and lesbian couples reside in Florida. As a Jacksonville Gay and Lesbian Issues Lawyer, I receive numerous calls from same-sex couples that live in Jacksonville, Florida seeking a divorce.

Florida, like the majority of states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage, does not recognize same-sex divorce. This is because granting a same-sex couple a divorce is basically a legal recognition that the couple was married in the first place. If you live in Florida and have been married in a state which allows for same-sex marriages, getting a divorce in Florida is not possible. Obtaining a divorce might require, among other conditions, that you establish residency in the state in which you were married. Generally speaking, most states require residency in their state for six months, a year, or even more.

If you were married in California, however, you may have a new option. California’s governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law a bill that allows couples who were married in California to file for divorce in California — even if the couple no longer lives there. For example, if you were married in California’s Orange County, moved to Florida’s Orange County, and are now seeking a divorce, the California County that married you still has jurisdiction to grant your divorce.

melissa.jpgMelissa Etheridge, singer of the hit 90s song “I’m the Only One” and fresh off the release of her new album, Icon, is still in the depths of her legal battle with her former domestic partner. Their current dispute centers around their children, who are 5-year-old twins.

Originally, the court ordered Ms. Etheridge to pay Tammy Lynn Michaels $23,000 a month in child support. As this is more money than many people make in a year (the poverty level for a family of three is $18,530), most people would think $23,000 a month would be sufficient. Ms. Michaels, however, is asking for an increase. She claims she can’t survive on this amount and is requesting an increase to $128,000 each month.

Ms. Etheridge has responded with several accusations of why her former partner should not be granted the increase, even accusing Ms. Michaels of accidentally burning one of the children with a cigarette. She has asked the court for 50/50 custody and for an order requiring neither of them smoke around the children.

Not only will Florida perform same-sex marriages, but there is no method for a legally married same-sex couple who has moved to Florida to obtain a divorce in Florida courts.

Same-sex marriage is not recognized in very many states, but evidence is showing that people are increasingly receptive to allowing same-sex marriage. With any marriage, things can go wrong, and divorce is sometimes necessary.

Unfortunately, those states that do not recognize same-sex marriage generally do not recognize same-sex divorce (this includes Florida). This is because granting a same-sex couple a divorce is basically a legal recognition that the couple was married in the first place — something these states aren’t ready to accept. If you are in one of these states, getting a divorce might require establishing residency in a state that recognizes marriage, meaning you’d have to move to that state for six months, a year, or even more.

Ponte vedra gay law and divorce.jpgAs a Jacksonville LGBT Lawyer, I receive many calls from gay and lesbians who are ending their relationships, with no formalized seperation documents in Florida that dictate what happens to jointly owned property. This issue becomes more complicated when real property is involved.

Same-sex couples do not have the inherent safeguards of the law which benefits opposite-sex or heterosexual relationships in a legal marriage as defined in Florida law.

The best advice would be to consult with a Ponte Vedra Law Firm as to how real property, other property purchased together and financial accounts should be titled, managed, and protected.

Orange Park Gay and Lesbian Issues.jpgFlorida same-sex couples who are raising children together or are planning to either adopt or use donor insemination should consult with an Orange Park Law Firm practicing in gay legal issues.

Florida same-sex parenting issues are an evolving area of law. The question about the legal parentage of a child can be the most important question in a couple’s relationship, as well as having significance to the child.

Should an Orange Park same-sex couple break up, only the legal parent will be entitled to custody and visitation, and only they are legally responsible for the care and support of the child. This can have a profound and detrimental effect to not only the non-legal parent, but the child as well.

With the recent legalization of gay marriage in New York, gay rights activists are pushing for similar laws in other states. It appears such laws are increasingly likely; however, there is one aspect many people overlook: divorce.

Though this is not exactly a positive topic, it is nevertheless something to consider before traveling to another state (or to Canada) to obtain a gay marriage. Each state that recognizes gay marriage also recognizes divorce. Conversely, states that do not recognize gay marriage will generally not grant a gay divorce.

This is a problem for those couples who are not residents from the state or country in which they legalized the marriage. Those states that recognize gay marriage require residency for anywhere from 6 months to a year before granting a divorce. This leaves many same-sex couples with no way to legally divorce, unless they move to the state of their marriage.

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