Going through a divorce is a difficult and distressing ordeal that can weigh heavily on the entire family. The uncertainty that comes with splitting up a family home and adjusting to a new lifestyle, as well as dealing with the resulting financial fallout, can be overwhelming. The best decision you can make to protect your interests is to consult an assertive, compassionate family law attorney.
The family law practice at My.Attorney is dedicated to helping clients navigate the Florida divorce process, including uncontested divorce, contested divorce, mediation, and collaborative divorce. Knowing that the legal system can be complicated and confusing, we will provide you first-rate legal representation and caring, personal service. Download our app today or call us at #4LAW to set up a free case evaluation.
Divorce in Florida
It is important to point out that there is a residency requirement for filing in Florida — at least one of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least 6 months prior to filing for a dissolution of the marriage. Unlike other states, there are only two grounds for divorce in Florida — irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and mental incapacity:
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage — The spouses cannot resolve their differences despite counseling or other attempts to restore their relationship
- Mental incapacity — One of the parties has been declared mentally incapable by a judge for a 3-year period prior to the divorce filing
Generally, a divorce can be uncontested or contested. In an uncontested divorce, the parties agree on issues such as the division of marital property, spousal support, child custody, and visitation. Nonetheless, if you choose this route, it takes a skilled divorce attorney to draw up a marital settlement agreement that will protect your interests. To be approved by the court, the agreement must be fair and reasonable to both parties and entered into free of coercion.
In a contested divorce, on the other hand, the spouses cannot agree on terms and require court intervention. Additionally, if parental issues are in question, the court may order the parties to reach a parenting agreement through mediation before granting the divorce. If the spouses cannot agree, the court will determine a parenting plan and visitation rights based on what it perceives to be the best interests of the children. This makes having proper legal representation essential.
How To Resolve a Florida Divorce
At My.Attorney, our legal team has extensive experience helping clients resolve the key issues, including:
- Division of Property — Marital property (e.g. the family home, bank accounts, stocks, retirement accounts, businesses, and debts) must be divided according to Florida’s rules of equitable distribution. The marital property will not be divided 50/50, but rather in a way that is fair and reasonable. If the spouses cannot reach an agreement, or there is no prenuptial agreement in place, the court will make the final determination on dividing the marital assets.
Spousal Support — Often referred to as alimony, spousal support is based on the needs of the receiving spouse and the other party’s ability to pay. Generally, there are four types of support in Florida, temporary, rehabilitative, durational, and permanent. It is worth noting that permanent spousal support is reserved for marriages that have had a longer duration. Factors involved in spousal support determinations include each spouse’s income, the duration of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, the earning capacity of each party, and a spouse’s need for further education or training to find a job.
- Child Custody — Before the court grants a divorce involving minor children, the spouses must reach a court-approved parenting plan. Generally, there are two types of child custody — legal and physical. Legal custody refers to each parent’s right to make important decisions concerning the children’s education, medical care, religious upbringing and extracurricular activities. Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to which parent the child will live with primarily, and the visitation rights of the noncustodial parent. If the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, the court will make a final determination on child custody.
- Child Support — Determinations on child support are based on each parent’s income, the number of children in the marriage, and the amount of support specified in Florida’s child support guidelines. Other factors included in this determination include the cost of child care, the payment of medical, dental and vision insurance premiums, medical expenses, educational expenses and the cost of extracurricular activities.
Spouses who are seeking a more civil, cost-effective way to dissolve a marriage often consider divorce mediation. In this process, a neutral third party known as a mediator oversees the process and guides the parties in negotiating a marital settlement agreement that must be approved by the court before a divorce is granted. Divorce mediation is particularly well-suited to uncontested divorces or cases in which the spouses cannot agree on parenting issues.
Collaborative Law Divorce
Given the emotional repercussion of a divorce can have on a family, especially the children, many couples are turning to an alternative approach known as collaborative law divorce. In this process, the parties and their attorneys agree to resolve the marital issues without going to court. Each party must negotiate in good faith, however. If one or both parties withhold financial information or conceals assets, or if the parties cannot reach an agreement, the divorce must be litigated and new attorneys must be retained. Collaborative law divorce is designed for those who wish to avoid the acrimony associated with divorce and preserve harmony within the family.
Contact Our Florida Divorce Attorney
Guided by a principle that there is a solution to every problem, My.Attorney have been helping clients navigate the divorce process for over 25 years. We are known for being good listeners and helping our clients make the best decisions for their future. During your free consultation, we will take the time to learn about your circumstances, explore all of your options and determine the best course of action. When you become our client, you will find a supportive atmosphere that allows to effectively manage the transition to your new lifestyle. If you have reached an impasse in your marriage, you may be frightened and not know where to turn. Remember, we are here to help. Download the My.Attorney app or give us a call at #4LAW to set up a free evaluation of your case and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.