Family Law

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9

Divorce is an area involving deep emotional and sensitive issues. The process involves dividing the life a couple built together and separating from a person you once thought was your world. Have reasonable expectations about the outcome of your case and please realize that neither the court system nor your attorney will solve all your problems with your spouse. All sides in a family law case may feel dissatisfied at the conclusion of the case because the legal system is not a place to resolve emotional issues you have with your spouse. Nor is it a place to be spiteful or vindictive especially where children are involved. The court will rule based on what it deems in the best interest of the children. With these things in mind, your experience should yield a reasonable solution for all interested parties. If you seek an attorney with integrity who will aggressively and diligently handle your case, then you are in the right place. If you seek someone who will act out your vengeance, abuse the process, and make your spouse pay for whatever wrongs you feel you have experienced as a result of that person’s actions, then this is not the firm for you.

Dissolution of Marriage – Divorce

Divorce: Parties to a divorce may mutually agree to the terms of divorce by preparing a marital settlement agreement and filing for a simplified dissolution of marriage. Parties who cannot agree may resolve their issues through an attorney’s representation, through mediation or at trial if the issues are not easily resolvable. Most Counties in Florida require mediation as an alternative dispute resolution prior to going to trial to resolve the issues.

Requirements for a Divorce in Florida: In order to get a divorce in Florida, the petitioner must have lived in Florida for at least 6 months prior to filing for a divorce. The divorce must be filed either where the couple lived together as husband and wife, or where the marriage ceremony took place. Florida is a no fault divorce state. This means a couple can divorce for any reason. Specific allegations of events that caused or resulted in the breakup need not be mentioned in the divorce proceeding unless it will affect the issues of child custody and alimony.

Child Custody, Support and Responsibility: Children born of the marriage have a right to the involvement of both parents in their lives. Few exceptions apply to this rule. Child support is determined by state statute, and each parents’ disposable income. Each parent may share physical custody and parental responsibility equally by agreement or custody may be awarded to one parent over the other if facts indicate one parent is more suitable, financially capable or equipped to take care of the child(ren). Recent changes to state law have developed parenting and time sharing plans to involve both parents participation in their child(‘s) upbringing. Parenting classes must be completed by both parties before a divorce can be finalized.

Assets: The couple’s assets will be divided equally unless each partner has an unequal interest/equity or contribution to the asset. Assets are separated into pre-marital and marital. Pre-marital assets are those (in)tangible and personal property acquired prior to the marriage; however, they may be considered marital if during the marriage a spouse contributed to the appreciation of the asset or reduced the debts associated with the asset.

For more information about dissolution of marriage in Florida contact the County Clerk of the Court for an information packet or consult a family law attorney.