By: Felipe Mavromatis, Esquire

Gay marriage

In 2015, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges holding that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all states and have their marriage recognized by other states. This decision was particularly important as Florida’s Constitution and two state laws defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. Same-sex couples are now afforded many of the same rights that were previously reserved for traditional marriages. Some of these rights include:

  • Social Security Benefits
    The Social Security Administration now recognizes same-sex couples’ marriages in all states and same-sex marriages and some non-marital legal relationships established in foreign jurisdictions for purposes of determining entitlement to Social Security benefits, Medicare entitlement, and eligibility and payment amount for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). For more information, go to the Social Security Administration’s website at
  • Income Tax Filing
    Since 2013, the Federal Government has recognized same-sex marriages for tax purposes. Whether you are marriage, separated, or seeking a divorce, there are certainly tax implications that need to be addressed. If you haven’t been filing your taxes together, it may be advantageous to do so and retroactively amend your returns to reflect your marriage for the past three years. For more information, go to the IRS website.
  • Birth Certificates
    Since 2016, married same-sex couples in Florida may now list both parents’ names on birth certificates and not just the names of the biological parents. Florida’s Department of Health Office of Vital Statistics also allows amended birth certificates to same-sex couples who previously had a child during their marriage. While an accurate birth certificate is an important step for families, same-sex parents should still consider a confirmatory adoption (such as a Step Parent Adoption) in ensuring the rights of the parents throughout the United States. For more information on amending birth certificates visit

Domestic Partnership Agreements

Same-sex couples contemplating marriage or those in committed relationships should discuss with one of our experienced attorneys about entering into a domestic partnership agreement securing the rights of the parents to access to their children and addressing the couple’s finances, property, and healthcare rights. While same sex-couples are now afforded many of the same rights as it pertains to alimony, property, and finances by virtue of their marriage, laws surrounding children and the protections afforded to each parent are still not clear. As such, it is advantageous to address issues surrounding time-sharing and children early in a relationship.

Domestic Partner Registry

Even if you are not married, cities throughout Florida afford same-sex couples protections through the cities’ Domestic Partner Registry. To the extent allowable by State and Federal law, these rights include, but are not limited to the following:  Preneed guardian designation, Participation in Education, Health Care Facility Visitation, Health Care Decisions, Funeral/burial Decisions, Correctional Facility Visitation Rights, and more. For more information about the registry, go to the City of Orlando website at

Gay Divorce

While tremendous strides have been made legally for the gay community in terms of benefits for same-sex married couples, when it comes to same-sex divorces, the law is not as clear. Same-sex couples face many of the same obstacles and heartbreak other couples face when a marriage fails. However, same-sex couples are confronted with unique challenges as it relates to the dissolution of their marriage. Some of these unique challenges include custody of children that are adopted into a same-sex marriage or children conceived through artificial insemination. Particularly problematic are issues surrounding custody in which one parent is the biological parent as there is no automatic presumption that both partners in a same-sex couple are legal parents.

These challenges can be overcome with a planning and the help of our experienced attorneys.