We understand that a divorce is not always an easy decision for our clients. It can be a stressful process that impacts your financial security, where you live and most importantly your children. Our firm is here to assist you every step of the way, from the division of the assets (both marital and non-marital), to determining child support, shared-parental responsibility and the different types of alimony. In deciding what type of divorce proceeding will best serve our clients, we examine many factors, including:
If the parties to a marriage have no children and no joint assets they may qualify for a simplified dissolution of marriage. This type of proceeding is very common in short term marriages and it allows the parties to resolve the case in a relatively short period of time. Both parties are required to attend the final hearing and to provide testimony in support of the simplified petition.
Parties can agree to settle their divorce without having to go to court in a process known as collaborative divorce. In this process each party and his or her attorney attend a series of meetings designed to resolve the case without any court intervention. The sole requirement of a collaborative divorce is a disqualification agreement. That is, if either party decides to seek court intervention, both attorneys are disqualified from further representation in the matter and each party must retain new counsel. There are many benefits to the collaborative proceedings but the most important benefit is that the parties retain all decision making authority.
Florida courts no longer use labels such as “primary custody” or “secondary custody” or “visitation” to describe a parent’s relationship with a child. Instead, Florida courts now determine whether there should be “Shared Parental Responsibility” or “Sole Parental Responsibility”.
Child support is calculated on many factors, including the time-sharing schedule, each parent’s income, day care costs and health care costs. Both parents are required to pay child support, but in most cases the parent with less time-sharing makes a payment to the parent that has more time-sharing.
Alimony, also known as spousal support, is essentially economic assistance paid by one spouse to the other spouse and can be granted in a Florida divorce proceeding under certain circumstances. The two initial issues that the court must look at in determining a claim for alimony is the length of the marriage and the disparity in the spouse’s income. In Florida there are several types of alimony, including:
It is not uncommon in second marriages for the parties to consider a pre-nuptial agreement (also known as a pre-marital agreement) prior to the marriage. The goal of this agreement is to define and protect the existing property held by each spouse prior to the marriage. In the event of a divorce this agreement can be enforced by the court. Florida law also allows married couples to enter a similar agreement known as a post-marital agreement.
A paternity action is the process of establishing the legal relationship between a child and a putative biological father.
A dependency action is created when the Florida Department of Children and Families filed a lawsuit against one or both parents that alleges abuse, abandonment or neglect of a child. Upon filing of the lawsuit the department may request that the child or children be removed from the parent’s care and placed in relative care or foster care. Parents have well defined rights in a dependency action and should immediately seek representation with an experienced attorney.