Jacksonville LGBT Family Law Attorney
Attorney Leanne Perez is a LGBT family law attorney who has the knowledge and experience necessary to answer questions and handle the variety of legal issues specifically faced by same-sex couples and their families.
Issues such as:
- Preparing prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
- Helping same-sex couples maximize all legal rights after legally marrying in Florida.
- Preparing wills, healthcare directives, powers of attorney, designations of preneed guardian and other legal documents to solidify legal rights and plan for the future.
- Same-sex divorce.
- Custody and support of children (including biological and nonbiological children).
Marriage and Divorce Rights for Same-Sex Couples
Among the legal rights traditionally given to married couples is the right to get a divorce. In the past, same-sex couples faced difficulty enforcing the right to divorce because certain jurisdictions did not recognize same-sex marriage in the first place. With the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, however, same-sex married couples will be able to get divorces according to the same rules as heterosexual couples. However, some unique issues may arise in connection with child custody. If you are concerned about an aspect of your same-sex marriage with regards to your children, or if you are considering a divorce in Jacksonville, Attorney Leanne Perez may be able to help.
In Florida, one of the spouses must live in the state for at least six months before filing for a divorce. Whichever spouse files for a divorce can do so in the Florida county where the parties last resided with the intent to remain married.
When both same-sex parents are the legal parents of their children, they have equal rights. Under F.S.A. § 61.13(3), the court can evaluate all of the factors affecting the children's welfare and interests to determine an appropriate Parenting Plan and time-sharing, or otherwise known as “custody”. In other words, the court will look at the best interests of the children, just as they do when the parents are heterosexual.
In Florida, the courts recognize that it is best for minors to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents. When possible, the court will order shared parental responsibility so that each legal parent retains his or her full parental rights and obligations. Shared parental responsibility has two parts: parental responsibility, which refers to the authority to make religious, medical, educational, or other critical decisions for the children, and time-sharing, which refers to time spent with the children. If the court finds that shared parenting duties would harm a child, the court may order sole custody for one parent as to one or both of these aspects of custody. A parent who has most of the time-sharing will likely receive child support based on a statutory formula that considers income, percentage time-share, and other expenses such as health insurance for the child and employment-related daycare.
Sometimes only one of the spouses in a same-sex marriage is the "legal" parent of one or more children. For example, a same-sex couple may have informally used artificial insemination using one partner's egg in order to have a child prior to getting married, back when same-sex couples were not allowed to adopt in Florida. If the couple never signed adoption paperwork to formalize the other parent's legal status, the other parent may not have the same rights as the biological parent.
Attorney Leanne Perez can help you if any of the following apply to you:
- You were married in another state and wish to obtain a same-sex divorce in Florida.
- You were married in Florida and need to obtain a divorce or annulment in Florida.
- You reside in the state of Florida and were served divorce papers.
- You were married in Florida or another state and need help with child custody, alimony, or other family law issues related to divorce.
Issues Facing Same-Sex Divorcing Couples
Because divorcing LGBT couples are treated the same by law as divorcing heterosexual couples, the issues they face with an impending divorce are largely the same as the issues many couples have faced for years.
- Alimony – Disagreements over alimony are a common point of contention in divorce. Factors considered when deciding alimony include duration of the marriage, age, standard of living, salary, and more.
- Child Support – Child support payments are usually awarded to the party that gets primary custody of the children. The amount of that support is usually the sticking point.
- Parenting Time / Visitation – Visitation, also called "timesharing," is awarded to the non-custodial parent. Problems can arise when the custodial parent does not want timesharing or is not happy with the way timesharing has been set up.
- Property Division – Division of property in Florida divorces is equitable, taking into consideration separate and marital property. Equitable does not mean equal, so deciding which spouse is entitled to which of the marital properties can be difficult.
Working with an experienced Jacksonville LGBT divorce lawyer is especially important for same-sex couples. Not every attorney understands the specific issues that same-sex couples can face, such as working out custody of children in second-parent adoptions. Attorney Leanne Perez has experience representing same-sex couples, and can help you get the outcome you want for your divorce.
Free Consultation! Call Today 904-990-3066
If you are facing family issues or same-sex divorce, do not hesitate to contact Attorney Leanne Pérez. Contact her Jacksonville office today at (904) 990-3066 for a free initial consultation.