Tampa Tribune: Florida Gay Marriage and Gay Divorce Cases

As I wrote in a previous post, a Florida Circuit Court judge in Monroe County (in the Florida Keys) declared that Florida’s ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional.  Though that ruling was stayed (not put into effect) pending appeal, a Miami-Dade judge made a similar ruling this past week, which was also stayed.

A few days before the Miami ruling came out, I was interviewed by Elaine Silvestrini of the Tampa Tribune about my Tampa same sex divorce case now under appeal in the Second District Court of Appeals and how the Florida Keys ruling may or may not affect the divorce case.  Below are some excerpts of the Tampa Tribune article:

Although the decision [to permit same sex marriages] has no force of law in the rest of the state, lawyers [in the same sex divorce case] say it may help their case for divorce equality.

“It’s not authoritative, but it provides a little bit more persuasion,” said Adam Cordover, who represents [one of the divorcing spouses]. “It shows that yet another court has ruled in favor of marriage equality. The currents of history are in favor of marriage and divorce equality.”

Cordover said the Monroe County ruling went further than the [parties] need the courts to go. “We believe, first off, that the court doesn’t even need to recognize the marriage in order to grant the divorce in our case. It simply needs to recognize that others do recognize the marriage.”

Cordover said the [parties] simply want to be legally declared as single.

The Monroe County judge “said that marriage is a fundamental right whether between one man and one woman or between two people of the same sex,” Cordover said. “We’re arguing the other side of the coin. Divorce is a fundamental right, whether it’s between one man and one woman or two people of the same sex.”


The [parties] lived in Massachusetts when they wed in 2010. They moved to Tampa in 2011. Although their marriage isn’t recognized by Florida, it is recognized by the federal government and in 19 states.

Without a divorce, the women are required to file their federal tax returns as married people. And if either one wants to remarry — even to a man — she could be prosecuted as a bigamist if she were to move to a state where their same-sex marriage is recognized. And if one of the women were traveling and became incapacitated while in a state where the marriage is recognized, then the other woman could legally make decisions for her even though the relationship is over.

“It’s been said that they’re wedlocked,” Cordover said. “They’re stuck together.”


The women agreed to a “collaborative divorce,” a process in which both sides hire lawyers, but agree to settle all issues outside of court. That means they didn’t need a judge to divide their assets or establish alimony. They asked only for a legal declaration that their marriage was over.

“They just want to be divorced,” Cordover said.

If you have questions about your Florida LGBT family law rights, schedule a consultation with The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our contact form.


About Adam B. Cordover, Attorney-at-Law

Family Diplomacy is dedicated to helping clients restructure their families privately and respectfully. We practice exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution, with a focus on collaborative divorce and family law, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services. We maintain this out-of-court practice because we strongly believe that family disputes should be resolved in a private conference room, not in a hostile and public courtroom environment. This unique perspective on family law stems back to Adam B. Cordover’s experience studying International Affairs in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Adam had the rare opportunity to work closely with ambassadors and diplomats from war-torn regions around the world. He traveled around the globe, learning from diplomatic leaders as they applied dispute resolution techniques to tackle seemingly impossible conflicts. It dawned on him: If these techniques can work in the complex world of International Relations, why not Domestic Relations and Family Law? This realization lead Adam to create an exclusively out-of-court practice and to bring a more peacemaking approach to family law. In his previous role as a litigation attorney, Adam witnessed parties experience the negative emotional and financial effects that long, drawn out divorce battles can have on families. As a result, Adam has become a strong proponent of the Collaborative Process, where a structure is put in place so that life’s hardest moments do not have to be any more difficult than necessary. A thought leader in the international collaborative law community, Adam successfully spearheaded an effort of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit to draft an administrative order safeguarding the principles of collaborative family law (just the fourth such administrative order in Florida). Adam has been featured in or interviewed about collaborative practice by the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Florida Bar News, NBC, Fox 13, Bay News 9, ABC Action News, The World of Collaborative Practice Magazine, and Spirit FM 90.5. Adam regularly speaks at professional and civic organizations locally and internationally regarding the collaborative process. Adam B. Cordover is president of Next Generation Divorce, a 501(c)(3) and Florida’s largest interdisciplinary collaborative practice group with member attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties. Adam is also on the Executive Board and co-chair of the Research Committee of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Florida. Further, Adam is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Leadership Academy of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. You can learn more about us and our services at www.FamilyDiplomacy.com. Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.
This entry was posted in Case Law Update, Collaborative Divorce, Family Law News, Florida Statutes, LGBT Family Law Matters and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Tampa Tribune: Florida Gay Marriage and Gay Divorce Cases

  1. susan buniva says:

    Congratulations! This is a critically important abed different victory. May you continue to prevail due to your legal skill, passion, and the justice that you stand for.

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