How Does the Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Affect Florida Law?

On June 26, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that no state may ban same-sex marriage.

On January 6, about 5 months earlier, the freedom for same-sex couples to legally marry had already become effective in the State of Florida.

Even so, a Florida gay marriage case had remained on appeal to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. The U.S. court of appeals deferred ruling on the Florida case until the U.S. Supreme Court decided whether same-sex couples had the legal right to marry nationwide.

The Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling permits gay couples to marry in all 50 states. Any existing state bans against the constitutionality of gay marriage are considered overturned by the Supreme Court – meaning all states will legally perform and recognize same-sex marriages.

If a Florida couple was married during the time between January (when it became legal in Florida) and June 26, that couple is still legally married. Any actions they may have taken as a married couple, such as paying taxes, remain valid.

Speak with an experienced Florida attorney at our firm today.
Call 855-Kramer-Now (855-572-6376).

As Florida same-sex couples have experienced, vast changes to laws do not happen overnight.

For states that previously did not permit gay marriage, the Supreme Court ruling will take time to settle in and get established.

Florida has had a bit of a head start in this regard, and is better prepared than some states for the national transition. Still, Florida courts have been compelled to interpret laws that were written for the marriage and dissolution of marriage between heterosexual couples.

One case in point is of a lesbian couple who were legally married in Massachusetts, and moved to Florida. As Florida residents, in 2014 they requested a divorce. They were denied, because at that time same-sex marriage did not legally exist under Florida law.

The couple appealed the denial. With Florida’s legalization of same-sex marriage in January 2015, the 2nd District Court of Appeals granted the legal divorce to the couple, overturning the prior court’s ruling of a year before.

Now, with the national legalization of gay marriage, same-sex couples will no longer have to endure the roundabout and uncertain channels regarding marriage and divorce. Cases will ultimately reach legal resolution within each state.

Now that same-sex marriage in Florida is here to stay – what can Floridians expect?

New family dynamics will generate familial rights under various federal and state laws.

And as a highly regarded tourist destination, winter retreat and retirement state, Florida’s recognition of diverse legal situations involving married same-sex couples will be monumental.

To name a few:

  • Florida divorce laws – determining child support, custody, division of property, asset protection, domestic violence and more – will apply when a same-sex marriage does not work out;
  • Florida will recognize same-sex marriages that legally originated in another state;
  • Adoption – It will become more straightforward to adopt as a legal family, and/or if you marry someone with an adopted child, to become a second parent for that child;
  • Spouses become eligible for Social Security survivor benefits;
  • Spouses become eligible for work-sponsored health insurance and hospitalization plans;
  • Eligibility for housing as a married couple;
  • Estate planning becomes more straightforward;
  • Florida residents may sponsor a foreign same-sex spouse;
  • Taxes − married same-sex couples may file jointly.

Seek Counsel from Compassionate Florida Attorneys Skilled in Family Law Matters

Even though the Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling is the national rule of law, Florida same-sex couples may still face unique challenges when seeking divorce or needing assistance with complex family law issues.

If you find yourself facing divorce, or you need help with prenuptials, visitation, adoption, alimony or any family law matter, we invite you to consult with TK Law. Our experienced Orlando and Maitland divorce attorneys can help guide you through the process and ensure your rights are fully protected.

Speak with an experienced family-law attorneys at TK Law today.
Call 855-Kramer-Now (855-572-6376).

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