By Robin Roshkind, Esquire – West Palm Beach, Florida
Sometimes, a traditionally married homosexual man or woman finds he or she cannot take a heterosexual life anymore. They not only come out of the closet, they come out of a heterosexual marriage to find a same sex partner more suitable to their sexual orientation.
Aside from the obvious divorce scenario, and perhaps even custody battles, same sex couples need the following documents drafted and executed:
1. A pre-need guardianship. This is in case one or the other party becomes incapacitated. Since same sex couples do not have the same rights as marrieds, this document is important to determine a guardianship situation. Guardianship is two-fold: power over the person and the property.
2. Power of attorney. This gives the other partner powers to sell, rent, contract, take bank drafts, pay bills and more. It literally gives the partner power to stand in the shoes of the partner in a legal sense.
3. Living will. Everyone should have this. It dictates who will be standing over you should you be in a vegetative state and be deciding how and when “to pull the plug.” You can appoint your partner and your doctor, your siblings, anyone else you want to.
4. Health care surrogacy. This document names who you want to stand in your shoes to make medical decisions for you should you become unable to do this on your own. In normal marriages, it is the spouse. Not so, in same sex couple relationships, unless there is a signed, notarized health care surrogacy document.
5. A will or trust. Nothing will be left to your same sex partner unless you say so, formally, legally.
6. Organ donor documents. If you want to be an organ donor, you need to tell someone, formally, legally.
7. Co habitation agreements. This is important because it frames the ongoing relationship as well as outlines the potential, possible break up. It delineates whose property is belongs to whom, who pays for what in running the household, and puts forth the couples’ rights, responsibilities and obligations. These documents play an important role in the break up because there is no “legal divorce” from a same sex partnership. The co habitation agreement controls. It comes under contract law not family law.
For more information about these legal documents for same sex couples in Florida, please visit the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com or call Robin Roshkind, P.A. for a consultation with one of our attorneys at 561-835-9091.