What Are The Options To Proceed With A Divorce In Florida?
A divorce in Florida requires at least some court action because only a Circuit Court Judge may dissolve a marriage. However, it is always better to settle the issues involved in a divorce, such as division of assets and debts, child custody and support, alimony, and attorney’s fees and costs. When you get divorced, one household becomes two; and, it is always more expensive to maintain two households, as opposed to one. Therefore, the more issues you can settle, the less you will have to pay in attorney’s fees to get divorced. It is usually advisable to go to mediation early on in the case, so that you can try to settle the case and arrive at a Marital Settlement Agreement without too much litigation.
Once One-Party Files For Divorce In FL, What Happens Next?
Like any other lawsuit, the Petitioner must have the Respondent served with the Petition for Dissolution and Summons. After service, the Respondent has 20 days to respond. Either party may bring a motion for temporary relief, such as exclusive possession of the marital residence, temporary child custody and support, temporary alimony, and attorney’s fees and costs. Each side is obligated to provide financial information and documentation to the other, so that each side can make an informed decision about property division, child support, alimony, and attorney’s fees. After mandatory financial disclosure has been exchanged, I recommend the parties try to settle – or go to mediation, if they need the assistance of a mediator. If a settlement is reached, it is written into a formal agreement and presented to the judge, who reviews it and makes it a part of the final judgment. If some issues remain unresolved, a trial is scheduled; and, the judge rules on those issues after the presentation of evidence.
How Is Custody Determined In FL When A Couple Is Divorcing?
The public policy in Florida is for each parent to have meaningful continuing contact with the children. More and more the courts are ordering 50/50 time-sharing, or something similar to that. One parent may be given sole parental responsibility, but only if it can be shown that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the children. This usually only occurs in situations of abuse or neglect. As for time-sharing, many factors are considered. What has been the children’s prior relationship with the parent, what are the work schedules, how far apart are the parents now living, who is more likely to encourage a continuing relationship with the other parent, are there special needs and who can best address them, etc.? If the parents cannot agree, the judge must consider a number of factors to determine what arrangement is in the best interests of the children.
Who Will Pay Child Support If Parents Are Unwed In Florida?
Both parents have an obligation to support their children. One parent will pay the other parent child support based upon a number of factors, such as how much time is the child with one parent v. the other, what are the relative incomes and assets of the parents, are there special needs that must be addressed?
How Is The Amount Of Child Support Determined In Florida?
Florida has statutory guidelines for determining child support. The parties and judge must consider the income and financial circumstances of the parents, the amount of time the child spends with each parent, who pays how much for health insurance coverage for the child, what are the childcare expenses, etc. All of these factors are plugged into a formula to calculate what the child support should be. The judge must not deviate more than 5% from the guidelines in establishing child support unless valid reasons for doing so are spelled out by the judge.
How Is The Amount Of Spousal Support Or Alimony Determined?
To obtain alimony or support, one party must show the need for assistance and the other’s party’s ability to pay support. Additional factors are the length of marriage, the health of the parties, the ability of the needy spouse to obtain education or training to improve income, and the standard of living during the marriage.
What Factors Can Affect How Property/Assets Are Divided In A Divorce?
Usually marital assets and debts are evenly divided. However, the court may make an unequal division if, for example, one spouse has caused the waste or loss of marital assets by some wrongful conduct.
For more information on Family Law Cases In The State Of Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (954) 900-9575 today.