Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm is proud to sponsor the 2023 Tampa Pride Guide. The Guide is published by Watermark Online. According to Carrie West, president of the event, “We welcome everyone near and far to our great city of Ybor for the 9th Annual Tampa Pride. We share this celebration with thousands of visitors to enjoy our community’s welcoming hand and spirit through our day long LGBTQ festivities.”
Tag Archive for: same sex marriage
If your child is born while you and your spouse are married, you both will always be considered the parents of the child, right? Well, not necessarily. LGBTQ families should be aware of their family law rights. And according to Simmonds v. Perkins, 247 So. 3d 397 (Fla. 2018), those family law rights may be at risk.
Facts of Simmonds v. Perkins
Simmonds v. Perkins involves a Husband, a Wife, and a Biological Father. While married to Husband, Wife has an affair with Biological Father. Wife gets pregnant from Biological Father. While still married to Husband, Wife gives birth to child.
Now, Biological Father did not know that Wife was married to Husband at the time of the affair, and once Biological Father did learn about the marriage, Wife told him that the marriage was only for “immigration purposes.”
After the child was born, Biological Father would visit the child regularly and paid Wife child support. Eventually, Biological Father filed an action in court to be named the child’s legal father, have all of the rights of a father (including ability to make decisions and right to spend time with the child), and take on the obligation of child support.
Wife files a motion to dismiss the action because the child was born during an intact marriage between her and Husband. Traditionally, that meant that there was a strong legal presumption that Husband was the legal father of the child, and it was very difficult for any third party to challenge this status. Husband would later join as a party and also requested that his rights be respected and the case be dismissed.
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.
Florida has not had the best history when it comes to the rights of same-sex couples. For the longest time, the state had a law on the books that gay men and women were forbidden from adopting a child. Florida not only enacted a so-called Defense of Marriage Act statute but enshrined its opposition to same-sex marriage in the state’s constitution. Further, even once Florida courts ruled that the state must recognize marriage between people of the same sex, it was unclear whether the state would permit same-sex divorce.
Fortunately, the state has come a long way. The “gay adoption ban” is no longer on the books. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a ban on the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples is unconstitutional, as is a refusal of one state to recognize a same-sex marriage solemnized in another state. And it has become clear that circuit courts in Tampa Bay and around the state must give same-sex spouses the opportunity to dissolve their marriage.
So, at this point, can two parents of the same sex appear on a Florida birth certificate?
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.
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.
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.
On May 29, 2015, Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal released its opinion in the matter of Shaw v. Shaw. It determined that Florida should give full faith and credit to a same-sex marriage entered into under the laws of Massachusetts, and that Florida courts have the authority to dissolve the marriage.
This has been a long, tough road, but this is truly a great day for equality.
Keiba Shaw has authorized the release of the following statement:
An uncontested divorce between a man and a woman in Florida can be resolved in as little as a month. That’s just four weeks to dissolve a negative situation that both parties agree needs to end. It doesn’t matter how long they were married or WHERE they were married.
My [soon-to-be] former spouse and I used a next generation process, collaborative divorce, that was designed to resolve conflicts in a manner that was private, non-litigated, peaceful, and respectful. We reached a full agreement on all issues in two meetings that were one week apart.
And yet, because my former spouse and I are both women, my divorce has taken more than a year to be granted and has unnecessarily disrupted my life and that of my family members. The legal complexities have limited my options and the resulting financial burden has made it harder to take care of my family the way I envisioned.
Most people know that, for a long time, Florida did not permit gay individuals to adopt children.
Florida’s adoption laws were and are mainly based on the best interests of the child. Even if a prospective adoptive parent were a convicted violent felon, the felony likely would not automatically prevent an adoption from happening; the judge would need to entertain evidence and make a determination about whether, despite the felony, the adoption was in the best interests of the adoptee.
But if a prospective adoptive parent were gay, and the judge knew this fact, there would be no analysis. A gay person was not permitted under Florida law to adopt a child, regardless of whether it was in the child’s best interest.
However, that all changed in 2010, when Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals published its decision in In re the Adoption of XXG and NRG.
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- LGBTQ+ Friendly Family Law Firm in Florida August 22, 2023
- Short Video: Can A Divorce Be Collaborative? August 17, 2023
- Virtual Introductory Interdisciplinary Collaborative Divorce Training September 2023 August 13, 2023
- Florida Alimony Reform 2023: What is is and what does it mean? August 10, 2023
- Tampa Family Law Review: “I Could Not Have Been Happier” August 3, 2023