The question of which attorney to choose is a very personal one. You want someone who will offer a warm, welcoming environment and who understands the unique legal and societal challenges that transgender family law matters often entail. You want someone who has been on the forefront of LGBTQ family law rights and will be there for you. We would be honored to represent you.
On August 11, 2017, psychologist and collaborative facilitator Jeremy Gaies joined collaborative attorney and mediator Adam B. Cordover to present on the topic of “LGBTQ Relationships: The New Family and Out-of-Court Dispute Resolution.” Gaies and Cordover facilitated the LGBTQ families workshop at the 25th Annual Conference of Florida’s Dispute Resolution Center.
Purpose of LGBTQ Families Workshop
The purpose of the workshop was threefold:
- Identify specific legal and other considerations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals and families;
- Engage in discussion of various out-of-court options to meet LGBTQ needs; and
- Consider new and future legal challenges for LGBTQ clients and the family law community.
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a state must give full faith and credit to a judgment granting a second parent adoption issued by a court of competent jurisdiction of another state.
A second parent adoption is similar to a stepparent adoption, where one spouse adopts the other spouse’s child, except that the petitioner in a second parent adoption is not married to the child’s legal parent. Second parent adoptions were most closely associated with same-sex partners as, until recently, same-sex marriages were not permitted or recognized in Florida and around the country.
In the case, V.L. v. E.L., 577 U.S. ___ (2016), two women, E.L. and V.L. were in a relationship from 1995 until 2011. About seven years into the relationship, E.L. became pregnant via assisted reproductive technology and gave birth to a child (and a couple of years later, to twins). The women raised the children as co-parents.
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.”
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.
As I wrote in a previous post, a Florida Circuit Court judge in Monroe County (in the Florida Keys) declared that Florida’s ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional. Though that ruling was stayed (not put into effect) pending appeal, a Miami-Dade judge made a similar ruling this past week, which was also stayed.
A few days before the Miami ruling came out, I was interviewed by Elaine Silvestrini of the Tampa Tribune about my Tampa same sex divorce case now under appeal in the Second District Court of Appeals and how the Florida Keys ruling may or may not affect the divorce case. Below are some excerpts of the Tampa Tribune article:
Although the decision [to permit same sex marriages] has no force of law in the rest of the state, lawyers [in the same sex divorce case] say it may help their case for divorce equality.
“It’s not authoritative, but it provides a little bit more persuasion,” said Adam Cordover, who represents [one of the divorcing spouses]. “It shows that yet another court has ruled in favor of marriage equality. The currents of history are in favor of marriage and divorce equality.”
Yet another judge has declared a ban on same sex marriages to be unconstitutional, and this one occurred right here in Florida. The Honorable Luis M. Garcia found the law preventing the Clerk of Monroe County from issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples invokes a fundamental right and has no rational basis and, accordingly, violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the U.S. Constitution.
The order reads, in part, as follows:
Due Process Clause
There is no dispute by the parties that the right to marry is a fundamental right protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. The parting-of-the-ways occurs on whether the right to marry belongs to the individual and that individual’s choice of spouse or whether the state has the authority to dictate one’s choice in spouse to the opposite sex.
This court concludes that a citizen’s right to marry is a fundamental right that belongs to the individual. The right these plaintiffs seek is not a new right, but a right that these individuals have always been guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Societal norms and traditions have kept same-sex couples from marrying, like it kept women from voting until 1920 and forbid interracial marriage until 1967.
Last Sunday, I met a lot of people who had a lot of questions regarding their parental and family law rights. My law firm sponsored a booth at the St. Pete Pride festival in St. Petersburg, Florida, where I discussed topics such as adoptions, name changes, and LGBT child custody rights. I also had the chance to talk about collaborative family law, a private form of dispute resolution which I have used to help same sex partners amicably separate.
At the pride festival, I was wearing a metal name tag that I received from my collaborative family law practice group, Next Generation Divorce. Next Generation Divorce is comprised of over 100 caring attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals dedicated to helping parents and divorcing spouses handle difficult issues amicably and with their dignity intact. I happen to be Next Generation Divorce’s current president and, needless to say, I strongly support the organization’s drive to help folks resolve disputes respectfully through the collaborative process.