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Same-Sex Couples and Homeownership

January 6, 2015, Florida began recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions and issuing marriage licenses for same-sex marriages to be performed in the state of Florida. This new legal status for same-sex married couples allows for ownership of real property by the married couple as Tenants By The Entireties (TBTE).

There are both pros and cons to the newly legalized status. TBTE applies only to married couples. The TBTE status is automatic when the Grantees of a Deed are identified as a married couple, this gives each spouse overlapping 100% interests in their Homestead Property Tax Exemption, full exemption coverage (when one spouse gets Homestead Exemption), and rights of survivorship for the surviving spouse. The creation of a TBTE is not automatic as a result of the marriage. A new deed changing ownership type of a couple to a married couple has to be recorded in the Public Records. For instance, "A" Grantor to "A and B", Tenants By The Entireties.

Florida's law states married couples are only permitted one Homestead Exemption/permanent residency based on property tax exemption. Before January 6, 1015 same-sex couples married outside of Florida could maintain two permanent residences based on property tax exemptions because their legal status was not recognized in Florida. Now, same-sex married couples cannot claim more than one Florida Homestead Exemption and can't claim Florida Homestead Exemption if either individual is claiming a permanent residency based property tax anywhere in the world – the same as any married couple in the State of Florida. Since recognition of same-sex marriages took place after January 1, 2015, beginning with the 2016 tax year, same-sex married couples will be subject to a loss of their Florida Homestead Exemption, back assessment liens, penalties, and interest if they are found to be claiming a Florida Homestead Exemption and other permanent residency based exemption anywhere else.

We recommend the following article: http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?p=1&id=318057  for more insight into the pros and cons of same-sex homeownership. If you would like to change your deed wnership type, we would be more than happy to assist you through the process. At Parker & Associates, PA we are available via phone, email inquiry, or through our website for any same-sex marriage homeownership legal matters or any other of your legal needs.

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