Out of all the legal issues in Florida, divorce cases are some of the most complicated and emotional. When people get divorced, it’s often one of the hardest things they go through. It gets even tougher when they have to go through the legal process to settle issues.
Our team of divorce lawyers at Robert Sparks Attorneys understands the process and is serious about helping you through this challenging time. If you’re going through a divorce in Florida, we can help. Contact us today to set up a consultation.
How Does Florida Law Approach Divorce?
Although there have been changes and updates throughout the years, Florida has stayed fairly consistent in its approach to divorces. There are a number of issues when it comes to a divorce in Florida that you–or anyone else–will have to deal with:
- No-fault divorce – Florida is a no-fault divorce state, meaning you don’t need to prove that one party is at fault for the marriage’s breakdown. Rather, all that’s required is a statement that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
- Residency requirements – To file for divorce in Florida, one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for at least six months before filing. However, there is no waiting period for non-residents who are seeking a divorce in Florida.
- Asset division – Florida follows the principle of equitable distribution. This means that assets (property, bank accounts, finances, etc.) are divided fairly but not automatically equal. The court considers various factors when determining the distribution of assets and debts acquired during the marriage.
- Alimony – Florida allows for different types of alimony, including bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, and durational alimony. The court considers factors such as the length of the marriage, the financial situation of both parties, and the standard of living during the marriage when awarding alimony.
- Child custody – Florida courts encourage shared parental responsibility, which means both parents should be involved in major decisions affecting their child’s life. Physical custody may be shared or awarded to one parent, depending on the child’s best interests.
- Child support – Child support in Florida is determined using statutory guidelines that consider factors such as both parents’ incomes, the number of children, and the child’s needs.
- Parenting plans – In a contested divorce involving child custody and visitation, Florida courts require parents to create a parenting plan that outlines each parent’s responsibilities and time-sharing with the child.
- Mediation – In many divorce cases, mediation is required to resolve disputes related to child custody and visitation. This process aims to reach an agreement outside of the courtroom.
- Legal separation – Florida doesn’t have a legal separation process, but couples can enter into a separation agreement, which outlines their rights and responsibilities during the separation.
As you can see, there are a number of potential issues that Florida divorce laws attempt to answer. Still, many misunderstandings about divorce are still there, and regrettably, they can provide couples about to go through this process with an inaccurate understanding of how it actually works. Furthermore, divorce is highly personal and individualized, which can make it unwise to draw comparisons between your situation and what another couple experienced. However, it’s still important to be prepared should you have to enter into this process.
How Do You Prepare For a Divorce in Florida?
When people get married, they typically don’t anticipate the possibility of divorce. However, an increasing number of couples are faced with this situation. Divorce can result from a variety of factors from one person’s actions, or stem from unexpected events. Regardless of the cause, divorce is always a possibility, so it’s important to know how you can be prepared:
- Gather financial documents – Collect financial records, including bank statements, tax returns, and information about assets and debts. Having a clear picture of your financial situation is crucial during divorce proceedings.
- Stay informed – Make sure to inform yourself about the divorce laws in Florida that apply to your specific situation. It’s important to know how the state handles issues like property division, alimony, child custody, and child support.
- Consider mediation – Mediation can be an alternative to traditional divorce litigation. It involves a neutral third party helping you and your spouse reach agreements on various issues. It can be a more cost-effective option and brings less conflict.
- Think about a parenting plan – If you have children, you’ll need to work out a parenting plan that outlines custody arrangements, visitation schedules, and child support. The judge will review and approve this plan.
- File the necessary documents – Our team will assist you in completing and filing the required divorce documents, including the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Once filed, you’ll serve the papers to your spouse.
- Be there for court hearings – Depending on your circumstances, you may need to attend court hearings as your divorce progresses. We’ll represent you and guide you through the legal proceedings.
- Get emotional help – Divorce, obviously, can be tough emotionally. Consider seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist to help you cope with the stress and emotions that often come with divorce.
- Plan for post-divorce life – Think about your future financial stability, housing, and any necessary adjustments to your lifestyle. A well-thought-out post-divorce plan can help you move forward with confidence.
Again, divorce is a highly personal process. Often, it’s going to involve both short and long term changes to the very most individual parts of your personal life. Then, in some cases, it could also be a difficult and emotionally-charged process where you simply can’t agree on things with your ex-spouse. That’s why we take such pride in our approach. We’ll be there to support you through the entire process, making sure your interests are protected and you’re treated fairly.
Get Serious About Your Florida Divorce
At Robert Sparks Attorneys, we’re serious about helping you through a Florida divorce. Whether you’re going through a divorce with disputes or one that’s amicable, our team will be by your side throughout the entire process and even beyond the finalization of your divorce. We have the knowledge and expertise you need, and also will provide empathetic and caring support. Contact us today to set up a one-on-one consultation with our team.