In January, same-sex marriage became legal in the state of Florida, but no one knew for sure if the law would remain in effect as an appeal before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta sat waiting for a decision to be made by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Well, the Supreme Court handed down this long-awaited decision on Friday when it ruled that all people -- gay or straight -- have a fundamental right to marry. In other words, same-sex marriage will now become legal in all 50 states, and will remain legal in Florida.
What this means is that marriage and divorce will now be treated the same now in Florida, whether they involve members of the same sex or members of the opposite sex. It also means that when same-sex couples who were married in Florida move or travel to other states, their marriages will be recognized.
However, although marriage and divorce laws are now equal, there are still some family law issues that affect same-sex couples uniquely.
Family law issues involving children, such as adoption and child custody cases, still raise distinctive concerns when involving same-sex couples. For example, it’s very important for both spouses to legally adopt children who they aren’t biologically related to in order to be entitled to parental rights.
In fact, Florida’s laws regarding same-sex adoption have also been evolving, and it was only a few months ago that state lawmakers ended the ban on adoptions by same-sex couples that had been in effect for three decades.
For that reason, now would be a great time to make sure that both parents have legally-adopted the children they are raising together.
Check out this article from the Tampa Bay Times for more information on what the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision means for Florida residents.