With same-sex marriage now legal in Florida (and all 50 states), county clerks across the Sunshine State will soon be using new marriage and divorce forms that include the word “spouse” rather than “husband” and “wife,” which appear on the existing forms.
The revised forms, which go into effect October 1, came at the request of several county clerks who had asked the state’s Bureau of Vital Statistics to make the change. It will impact both marriage certificates and divorce forms, providing greater clarity for same-sex couples that would either like to get legally married or dissolve their existing unions. The state’s same-sex marriage ban officially ended in January, with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June making it legal throughout the country.
Although this is a step forward for same-sex couples, there is still some work to be done on Florida’s official birth certificates, which continue to have spaces designated for “mother” and “father.” There is currently a pending lawsuit to address that issue.
In addition, although the fact that gay marriage is now legal in Florida makes things easier for people across the state, there are still some issues same-sex couples should be aware of when it comes to divorce. It’s important to know that one of the members of the couple must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. The individual seeking the divorce may file in any county in which either spouse resides.
For more information on the steps you should take if you’re considering divorce in Florida, speak with a knowledgeable Jacksonville family law attorney today.
Attorney Maggie Harris contributed to this blog post.