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Actions Between Unmarried Partners

West Palm Beach Family Law AttorneySame sex marriage now recognized in Florida
  • Before the lead case of Brenner v. Scott, marriages between persons of the same sex entered into in Florida or anywhere else were not recognized for any purpose in Florida. However, On January 6, 2014 The U.S. district court ruled the state same sex marriage ban unconstitutional. By statute, Florida defines the term "marriage" as only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the term "spouse" applies only to a member of such union. It is apparent  now, as a result of recent court cases that same sex marriage is a reality in Florida even though not recognized by statute.
Florida Courts Have not Allowed Divorces by Same Sex Couples

One Florida Circuit Court in Broward County did initially rule to go forward with a divorce but finally had to withdraw the ruling because the Florida attorney general had not been properly notified. It appears to be a matter of time before Florida recognizes divorces as well as marriages between same sec couples.

Unmarried partners have, however, been granted relief in Florida in some Florida cases. Relief similar to that granted in the Florida divorce statute (chapter 61) has been available on a limited basis.

Examples:

  • Court affirmed a temporary restraining order enjoining one party from disposing of four pieces of valuable jewelry in parties. The personal relationship
  • Court awarded temporary support to alleged wife even though husband attacked validity of marriage
Florida Does not Recognize Palimony but Written Contract for Support is Enforceable

Florida law creates no legal rights or duties between unmarried couples who live together and thus, does not recognize a claim for palimony. However, unmarried couples may privately commit by contract to spend their money as they choose. Therefore, an agreement for support between unmarried adults, whether the same-sex or different sexes may be enforced by a court unless the agreement is deemed to be based on illicit consideration of sexual services. In one case an unmarried cohabitant sued her companion to enforce a support agreement. The companion counterclaimed for the court to determine whether a set damage provision was enforceable. On appeal, the appellate court held that the cohabitation agreement between unmarried, homosexual adults was enforceable; and the companions commitment to make monthly payments to the cohabitant on termination of the agreement was enforceable and not a penalty.

Oral Agreements for Support

In Florida, courts have split as to whether agreements for support between unmarried adults must be in writing. In one case the court upheld the agreement between an unmarried putative father to support a pregnant woman during pregnancy and for reasonable time thereafter.

Same Sex Adoption Judgment From Foreign State

A Florida court is required to fully recognize and adoption judgment entered in a foreign state, even if the biological mother of the child in the adoptive parent on a same-sex couple for the purpose of determining parental responsibility, contact and support as to the adoptive child.

Contact a West Palm Beach Family Law Attorney

At the law offices of West Palm Beach family law attorney we handle the full range of family law matters. With over four decades of experience we will represent you and counsel you with compassion and confidentiality. Please contact West Palm Beach family law attorney, Stephen J. Press at (561) 833-2772 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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