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Family Law and Estate Planning for Same-Sex Partnerships

Planning ahead to safeguard your assets
Equality is here in Florida. Same-sex marriage is finally here. The Law Office of Johnny J. Bardine, P.A., is preparing prenuptial agreements for same-sex couples. For years, many same-sex couples have lived in established relationships despite the fact that they cannot legally marry in Florida. Consequently, they acquired property together such as family homes, stock investments and in other ways commingled their assets. Just as spouses in a traditional marriage often establish prenuptial agreements to protect separate assets, same-sex couples have done the same. At The Law Office of Johnny J. Bardine, P.A., our attorneys advise and assist same-sex partners or spouses with drafting prenuptial agreements.

Because Florida recognizes common law marriages, with the passage of the new law legalizing same-sex marriages, same sex couples in common law marriages will also have the same marital rights ― as long as they meet the legal requirements for a Florida common law marriage.

Considering jointly owned assets in prenuptial agreements
A prenuptial agreement sets guidelines for dividing property in the event of divorce or death. Through a prenuptial agreement, you can stipulate which assets are separate properties, can transfer property from one spouse to another, establish income as separate, or determine whatever legal agreement you deem fair.

How relocation to other states can affect prenuptial agreements
Moving to a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages can complicate what happens to mutually owned property when couples divorce. The state may not recognize divorce, leaving no legal premises for dividing property. Even when the state recognizes same-sex divorce, you may be subject to different property division laws than the state where you married. For example, Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means marital property division is based on factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse's income and spousal contributions to the other spouse's education, training or earning capacity. However, in California, which is a community property state, courts divide property on a 50/50 basis. Since California recognizes same sex marriages, while you can obtain a divorce there, you may not be happy about the property division. The bottom line is that to ensure both spouses’ desires regarding property division is met, you must craft a prenuptial agreement that specifies your preferences or the state's laws will decide for you. You can provide in your prenuptial agreement which state's laws are to prevail in allocating property.

Contact our family law attorneys about drafting a prenuptial agreement
At The Law Office of Johnny J. Bardine, P.A., our attorneys can help you review your finances and assets and make important decisions that you can incorporate into a prenuptial agreement. We offer clients decades of experience and they also benefit from our personalized attention. To discuss your legal concerns with a lawyer at The Law Office of Johnny J. Bardine, P.A. today, contact us online or at (727) 289-7281.