The Dilemma of Same-Sex Divorce in Florida

 

Same-sex marriage has been one of the hot topics throughout the nation. From Coral Springs to Wilton Manors, it’s an issue which affects thousands of people throughout South Florida. Many gay and lesbian couples have voiced their desire to have the same rights as straight couples. But regardless of a person’s sexual orientation, divorce is also a serious issue. Although same-sex marriage is not currently recognized by the State of Florida, there are many gay and lesbian couples in the Sunshine State who were legally married in other states. But what can they do if they want to dissolve their marriage? It’s a tricky and sensitive issue which is currently raging on in Florida’s courtrooms.

Ironically, what could ultimately help bring same-sex marriage to Florida is a divorce case.  Recently, Broward County Circuit Court judge Dale Cohen became the third in South Florida to declare Florida’s 2008 same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. The case involves palm beach county resident Heather Brassner who is seeking to end her 2002 Vermont civil union from her partner. According to Brassner, her spouse had cheated on her and left her several years ago. But she remains in limbo when it comes to getting a divorce because the state doesn’t recognize same-sex civil unions or marriages.

Brassner’s situation may not seem that different from many other couples. But there are several complications. First, she and her partner were granted civil union seven years before same-sex marriage became legal in Vermont. Vermont will not grant her a divorce unless she and her spouse agree to the dissolution.  Despite hiring a private investigator and utilizing Internet searches, Brassner has been unable to locate her partner Megan Lade.

Recent trends indicate the fight to approve same-sex marriage is picking up momentum. Last week, a federal judge declared Colorado’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. That same week, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court’s decision that Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. Similar cases are currently being fought in courtrooms in West Virginia and the Carolinas. However, Florida remains a huge hurdle. Nearly 62 percent of Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions in 2008.

There are currently two other cases in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties in which judges have ruled Florida’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. Both rulings are currently on hold pending appeals by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Judge Cohen’s ruling will allow Brassner to GET A divorce, if the Attorney General does not appeal. The judge’s ruling comes as no surprise to Brassner’s attorney Nancy Brodzki, who had predicted the outcome after reviewing similar cases.

The process of divorce can be very complicated and messy. But with help from an experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate divorce lawyer, it becomes much easier. The law firm of Brodzki Jacobs & Associates, PL in Coral Springs has successfully helped provide guidance and representation for clients throughout South Florida. To learn more on how a divorce attorney can help you, call today for consultation.

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