LGBT FAMILY LAW

Given the current state of the laws in Florida, members of the LGBT community often wonder where to turn for advice and help on handling family law issues. Family Diplomacy prides itself on offering an open, friendly, and supportive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. We will strive to find a solution that is tailored to you and your family’s needs.

COLLABORATIVE FAMILY LAW FOR SAME SEX SPOUSES AND PARTNERS

Rather than go through the public adversarial court system to resolve personal family matters, Family Diplomacy recommends that Tampa Bay same sex spouses and partners utilize the private, respectful dispute resolution process of Collaborative Family Law.

In the Collaborative Process, attorneys are retained solely to settle disputes privately and are contractually barred from bringing contested issues to be decided by a judge. A facilitator, who is normally a trained mental health professional, is engaged to keep everyone focused on the best interests of the family and the children, if any, and to keep communication respectful and productive. A financial professional is involved to help untangle the combined assets and debts of the parties (under Florida and Federal law, this can be an especially technical undertaking for same sex relationships) and provide options for support.

Adam B. Cordover is an internationally-recognized leader and trainer in collaborative practice.  He has presented on the topic of the use of collaborative practice for LGBT families in Florida to judges, attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals in Tampa, Sarasota, and Orlando.  He is also a co-author of an upcoming American Bar Association book on collaborative family law.

Divorce Lawyer Client Review: A Complicated Divorce Goes Collaborative

Recently, I came across a very complicated divorce matter where two women had been battling in the court system for six years, even before the State of Florida recognized their marriage.  One of the women ended up firing her aggressive trial attorney and hiring me because I offered an alternative: collaborative divorce.  Once everyone agreed to stop fighting, we were able to reach an agreement within just a few months’ time.

That client, Pattie, recently wrote a touching review about my paralegal, Jennifer, and I at avvo.com.  You can find the review below.

As I am required to note by the Florida Bar, please understand that every case is different, and you may not receive the same or similar results.

The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover & Staff are amazing, professional caring people. Please know that I don’t mean for this review to be long or boring, my intent is to shed hope & shine light into your present life from my past experience and situation.

My situation was very complicated from the start being a same sex marriage which for years was not recognized in the State of Florida until January 2015 and two properties involved.

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Top 10 Family Diplomacy Blog Posts of 2015

This year marked the fifth anniversary of this firm, and also the evolution from a general family law practice as The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., to an exclusively out-of-court practice as Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm.  We refocused on collaborative divorce and family law, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services, and we adopted a new website, FamilyDiplomacy.com, which contained our new blog.

Below you will find the ten most viewed blog posts of the year on FamilyDiplomacy.com:

Number 10

A Low Profile Divorce for High Profile People

We see it in the news and magazines all of the time.  Publicly available divorce documents accuse a celebrity of secretly supporting a child born out of wedlock.  Sports figures’ assets and judgment become public spectacles.  Politicians and their spouses lob accusations at each other for all to see.  Businessmen’s private details and dirty laundry end up as front page stories.

Fortunately, your divorce does not need to be in the public eye…

Number 9

Video: Stu Webb’s Collaborative Divorce & Jazz

Now, as it turns out, Stu Webb is not only the founder of collaborative divorce, but he is also an avid fan of Jazz. You can find a short video he helped create comparing collaborative divorce to jazz…

Number 8

Tampa Collaborative Divorce Consultation

Since I opened my law practice, I have received phone calls from potential clients asking if they could bring their spouse to the divorce consultation. Their purpose was to go to a lawyer together, hear the same information, and demonstrate that they are not trying to hire a “pitbull lawyer” or engage in dirty trial tactics. They simply wanted to dissolve their marriage, and they did not want to fight in order to make the divorce happen…

Number 7

Do You Really Need An “Aggressive” Divorce Lawyer?

If you are considering divorce, whether here in Florida or elsewhere, and you are doing online research about family law attorneys, you will come across many firms that describe their attorneys as “aggressive” and “ready to fight for you.”

You will not find that type of language on Family Diplomacy’s website, as we believe that spouses should not be pitted against one another…

Number 6

UFC: Comparing Unified Family Courts with Ultimate Fighting Championship

The range of techniques that are displayed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship are absolutely breathtaking. From jabs to takedowns to flying armbars, each fighter attacks and counterattacks and does whatever he or she can to get the upper hand over the opponent. Similarly, in the Unified Family Courts, opposing attorneys and opposing parties engage in a variety of tactics in an attempt to build up one side and tear down the other…

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Reform Judaism Welcomes Transgender Individuals

The Tampa Tribune recently reported that the Union for Reform Judaism (“URJ”) passed a resolution in support of transgender rights.  The resolution of the URJ, representing approximately 1.5 million American Jews, is the most wide-reaching indication of support for transgender equality.

The resolution did not mandate changes to Reform synagogues or require them to spend money on changes, though it did set suggested protocols on welcoming transgender and non-gender-conforming individuals.

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Mixed Orientation Marriages

As LGBT rights have gained acceptance in Florida and throughout the U.S., it has become more common to learn about a spouse in an opposite-sex marriage – sometimes a long-term marriage – come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.  There is a term for marriage where one spouse is straight and the other spouse is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender: Mixed Orientation Marriages.  The term can also be applied to same-sex marriages where one of the spouses is bisexual or gender fluid.

Transcending Boundaries, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides education, activism, and support for persons whose sexuality, gender, sex, or relationship styles do not fit within conventional categories, has published a brochure that discusses and provides resources for those spouses in Mixed Orientation Marriages.

The brochures says the following about Mixed Orientation Marriages:

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Anti-Gay Language Stripped From Florida Adoption Laws

Up until recently, chapter 63 of the Florida Statutes, which contains the state’s adoption laws, was explicitly anti-gay.  Chapter 63 and adoption case law stated that whether prospective parents could adopt a child should be based on the best interests of the child, with one exception.

LGBT flag

That exception was laid out in Florida Statutes section 63.042(3) (2014), which provided that “No person eligible to adopt under this statute may adopt if that person is a homosexual.”

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Cordover Presents on LGBT Family Law in Sarasota

Family Diplomacy’s managing attorney Adam B. Cordover gave a presentation on “The New Family: LGBT Issues & Family Law” at the 2015 Fall Conference of the Florida Court Professional Collaborative (FCPC) of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit.  The title of the Conference was “2015 Trends in Family Law.”

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Video: What Do You Call A Transgender Person?

Caitlyn Jenner’s transition and reality TV show has raised awareness about transgender issues.  However, for many Floridians, there are still a lot of questions.  Some basic questions are: What do you call a transgender person? Which pronouns do you use?

PrideHealth, which is an organization out of Canada that “provides safe and accessible primary health care services for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (GLBTIQ),” has produced a video to help answer these questions.

Though the video is directed to healthcare providers, it is helpful for legal services providers and anyone who does not want to alienate potential trans clientele.

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Polyamorous “Divorce” in Tampa Bay

More and more people in the Tampa Bay area and beyond are finding themselves in relationships that do not quite fit the traditional mold.  Many are in long-term romantic relationships with more than one partner, where the other partners are also in romantic relationships with each other.

These relationships are oftentimes referred to as “polyamorous,” or love involving more than 2 people.  Polyamory is not about sex, just as traditional marriage is not about sex, but about the relationship between the partners.

And just as many traditional marriages end in separation, polyamorous relationships can also end in separation.  The problem is that the laws and the court system are not built with polyamorists in mind.

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Florida to Make Marriage Certificates Gender Neutral. What About Birth Certificates?

According to a recent report in the Tampa edition of Creative Loafing, in light of the recent Supreme Court decision and issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Florida’s Office of Vital Statistics is making the state’s marriage certificates gender neutral.  From Creative Loafing:

Friday marked the anniversary of the anniversary of District Judge Robert Hinkle’s ruling that struck down the state’s gay marriage ban.

On the eve of that anniversary, LGBT equality advocates saw another small but symbolic victory, according to Equality Florida.marriagecertificateweb.jpg

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Judge: Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Must Be Issued In Kentucky

Despite Kentucky Clerk of the Court Kim Davis’ argument that issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples violates her constitutional rights, a federal judge has ruled that the clerk must obey the law, do her job, and issue the marriage licenses.

In his order, the federal judge wrote, “It does not seem unreasonable for Plaintiffs, as Rowan County voters, to expect their elected official to perform her statutorily assigned duties.  And yet, that is precisely what Davis is refusing to do.”

A video from USA Today on the news can be found after the jump.

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