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Same-sex couples face legal property division challenges

Divorce for same-sex couples can be a particularly complicated issue. This is because many states, including Florida, only recognized these marriages starting in 2015. The starting date of a marriage is very important for establishing issues like property division and alimony, but many may find there are legal roadblocks in establishing the length of a same-sex marital relationship.

The length of a relationship is important in establishing shared property, although there are a few factors that are considered when defining property division and alimony. For example, courts will consider how each spouse contributed financially to one another and their family. They will also look at whether property is "commingled" to establish a marital home.

Because of the difficulty establishing the length of a marital-type relationship for same sex couples, many choose to draft a partnership agreement or cohabitation agreement prior to tying the knot. These agreements may exist prior to 2015 and will be considered in establishing a divorce or breakup of a domestic partnership. Those drafting such a document should consider issues such as shared property, child custody, estate planning and more.

Divorce is not easy for anyone in Florida, but it can certainly have particular challenges for long time partners who have only been legally married for a few years. Working with a lawyer and financial planner ahead of time to establish an agreement on property division and other issues is a good idea. If court is needed to clarify some issues, finding a lawyer familiar with Florida family law is important as well.

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