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Florida Supreme Court may hear same-sex divorce bid

If your home state does not recognize your marriage as valid, you may not be able to obtain a divorce there. This would prevent you from getting married again. It would also leave you with no child custody or child support order, if you are a parent. Without an official divorce, your ability to raise and support your child could be dependent on the whims of your ex.

Florida is not one of the 18 states that currently recognize same-sex marriages. The flip side of this is that same-sex couples that married in another state cannot get a divorce in Florida, because doing so would arguably be a legal recognition of the validity of the marriage -- opening the door to allowing same-sex marriages to occur in the state.

One Florida woman recently had her divorce rejected by a Hillsborough County judge because she is married to another woman. She has vowed to appeal to the Florida Supreme Court if necessary.

The couple lived in another state when they got married. They moved to Tampa, where their relationship fell apart. But they have not been able to divorce, leaving them in what their attorney calls a “wed-locked” status. They don’t want to be married anymore, but they cannot get a divorce. “They’re stuck, they’re absolutely stuck,” the family law attorney said.

It is possible that the state Supreme Court, if it hears the case, could order lower courts to recognize same-sex divorce without granting same-sex couples the right to marry in Florida. That has happened in Wyoming, among other states.

Source: WTVT-TV, “Married gay couple take divorce to Florida Supreme Court,” Gloria Gomez, May 22, 2014

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