Florida Appeals Court Grants Same-Sex Couple Divorce After Yearlong Wait

Law Firm Newswire



Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) July 22, 2015 – Women agreed to collaborative divorce, sought legal declaration dissolving their marriage.

Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeal on May 29 granted a divorce to a lesbian couple in Tampa. The appeals court decision overturned a Hillsborough County circuit judge’s order from one year before that denied the two women, Keiba Lynn Shaw and Mariama Changamire Shaw, the divorce they were seeking.

Circuit Judge Laurel M. Lee initiated the Shaws’ long wait for a divorce when she ruled in 2014 that the two women, who had married in Massachusetts, could not end a marriage that did not legally exist in Florida at the time. Lee cited provisions in state law and the state Constitution — overruled in January when a federal judge cleared the way for same-sex marriage in Florida — in handing down her ruling.

Prior to Lee’s ruling, the Shaws had already agreed to settle their outstanding issues through a collaborative divorce. They then asked the courts for a legal declaration that would recognize the dissolution of their nuptials.

“Notwithstanding the long ordeal that this couple underwent, a collaborative divorce usually results in a divorce that is relatively free of litigation and adversarial drama,” said Lisa McDevitt, a prominent divorce lawyer in Fairfax, Virginia. “Both parties agree in advance to resolve their differences through cooperative means that results in a negotiated outcome.”

The appellate court cited a ruling they issued in April that mandated consideration for the divorce of another same-sex couple in reversing the circuit judge’s decision blocking the Shaws’ divorce. The appellate court was also taking up the Shaws’ case again after it had attempted to pass it on to the Florida Supreme Court, which remanded it back to the appellate court.

“The circuitous paths that many of these cases involving same-sex couples have taken will all come to an end with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage,” McDevitt said. “Regardless of the genders involved, though, it is usually a good idea for anyone seeking a divorce to seek legal help from an experience divorce attorney.”

Learn more at http://www.mcdevittlaw.net