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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Attorneys: This, I believe is a tough question that involves

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Attorneys: This, I believe is a tough question that involves same-sex marriage/divorce. My partner and I were married in Vermont. We now both live in Florida and are residents of this state. We parted parted 3 years ago because of drug addiction my ex-partner had. I am now trying to get uncontested divorce papers signed by him, but he is so messed up on drugs he will one day agree to sign, then the next he refuses. I am under the understanding I cannot sue for divorce in Florida (since this state does not recognize same sex marriage) and I must live in VT to sue for divorce there (which I cannot move back at this time). Any suggestions on what I can do to get divorced from this person?

The law in Florida is currently cloudy as to the rights of same-sex partners to divorce in a Florida court. Courts have upheld the right of same-sex couples, whether or not married, to adopt children, so there is no total ban on dealing with same-sex couples in the Florida court system.

If you have not actually attempted to file for divorce, then I would encourage you to do so and see if the court will take the case. If the court dismisses your action as against public policy, then you would have to decide whether or not to appeal the dismissal order to the Court of Appeals, and perhaps higher. The ACLU would probably be extremely interested were the court to refuse to divorce you and your spouse. I would be quite surprised if the ACLU would refuse to take the case, because it's exactly the sort of thing that the ACLU does at its core: protect persons in exercising their civil rights against government.

If you have already filed for divorce, and the case has been dismissed, and more than 30 days has passed, then you would have to file for divorce again, to start the clock, so that you could get to an appellate court decision -- and, possibly obtain ACLU assistance (or assistance from some other gay/lesbian legal aid organization).

If you don't want to hassle with the matter, then you could simply take the position that if Florida refuses to recognize your marriage, then you're not married as a matter of law, and so you have no obligation to obtain a divorce, as long as you reside in Florida.

Please let me know if my answer is helpful. And, thanks for using!
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