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Florida cities grant some more rights to domestic partners

Family law covers issues such as divorce, child support, child custody and alimony. Family law issues also include the rights of unmarried couples. More of these rights are now being granted by some cities in Florida on a limited basis, so the following story on family law may be of interest to readers in Pensacola.

Eight cities in Florida currently allow unmarried couples to register as domestic partners. This practice provides some legal rights to unmarried couples that have previously been restricted to married couples.

These rights include the ability for each partner to make medical decisions on behalf of the other. They also include visitation rights for partners in hospitals and jails. Tavares is the most recent city in Florida to extend these rights to unmarried couples, with its city council approving the registry during the week of Feb. 4 by a vote of four to one.

A spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida applauded the decision, stating that a power of attorney is not a failsafe measure for obtaining visitation rights at a hospital. She added that cities that grant these rights will also benefit from interest from businesses that want their employees to work in more inclusive environments.

Family law matters are often settled through mediation, rather than a trial. This allows the involved parties to make decisions on these issues based on their individual circumstances instead of leaving them up to a judge. More rights under law for unmarried couples will provide a more standard base from which to make these decisions.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Tavares' new domestic-partner registry gives unwed couples some rights," Ludmilla Lelis, Feb. 10, 2013

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