Divorce, separation, or family disputes can be a distressing time in your life. For basic questions about divorce and family law issues, read below. To get answers about your specific case, call (888) 554-2030 to speak with our Florida family law attorneys directly.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Florida?Florida is a "no-fault" divorce state and property distribution is based upon equitable principles. "No-fault" divorce means that there does not have to be a reason for the divorce based on the faults of either spouse. You simply have to claim that there are irreconcilable differences. One of the spouses must live in Florida for at least six months before one can file for divorce.
I Want a Divorce. What Is the First Thing I Need to Do?You'll need to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. It initiates the basics for the divorce process, primarily your claims to spousal support, child support and custody, and property division. Then, the petition must be served to your spouse. If you have children, you'll also need to attend a lecture on children and divorce-it's required in Florida. Our attorneys can help you fill out this petition if you are unsure about beginning the divorce, ensuring that you complete all the necessary steps correctly.
How Is Property Division Handled in Florida?
Florida divorce laws call for an equitable distribution of property. This means that most property acquired during the marriage is considered "marital" property and will be equitably divided. Certain property brought into the marriage will, in most instances, be considered "non-marital" and you won't have to split it with your spouse. Also, personal gifts and inheritances will be considered non-marital property; this will also include any property that the spouses agree in writing is the personal property of the other.
However, in certain instances, appreciation of non-marital property like homes or businesses will be considered marital property and equitably divided.
The financial aspects of divorce are similar in many ways to the dissolution of a business partnership. If you plan to claim property is non-marital, it's important to keep good records and obtain an attorney's advice. The Ferraro Law Firm offers divorce planning services to help minimize the effect of the divorce on your finances.
How do Florida Courts Handle Child Custody & Visitation?
Florida divorce laws encourage shared parental responsibility of children unless there is a compelling reason not to. "Shared parental responsibility" does not necessarily mean that each parent will have the children 50 percent of the time, but that both parents will share equally in making major decisions affecting their children.
Generally, one parent is designated the primary residential parent with the other parent being granted liberal and frequent visitation rights. This typically includes alternating weekends, alternating holidays, and sharing the children's summer vacation.
What Will the Courts Consider Most in a Child Custody Case?According to the law in Florida, the best interest of the child is the polestar factor when determining which parent is designated as the primary residential parent. Fathers are often determined to be the primary residential parent of children if a court determines that it is in the best interest of the children. The other parent typically pays child support according to a Florida child support guideline formula based upon the income of both spouses.
My Spouse & I Want to Avoid a Costly Court Case. What Can We Do?Not all divorces are handled in court. Mediation is a process where the two spouses and their attorneys will negotiate the terms of divorce on their own. A mediator will facilitate the negotiations, helping identify breaks in communication and keep the process moving. During mediation, both spouses are free to walk away at any point. Mediation is often more cost-effective, less time-consuming, and less emotionally traumatic than a long court battle. Most importantly, it allows both spouses to control the outcome of their divorce.
What Are My Options if My Spouse Is Abusive?You can file a restraining order against your spouse before you file for divorce. The court can grant a restraining order without your spouse knowing-once the divorce process begins, they can legally order your spouse to leave your home and keep away from you and your children.
What Are the Factors Involved in Calculating Alimony?
- Standard of living
- Marriage length
- Age and health of the spouses
- Financial health of the spouses
- Sources of income for both spouses
- Each spouse's contribution to the marriage
- The employability of each spouse
- Any factor that would affect equity between spouses