We all hope that our marriages will last forever, but that’s not always the case. It’s important to know how divorce laws in Florida work—perhaps even before you get married. The more you know about how property and custody disputes are settled and what you can expect from the process, the less likely you are to be blindsided by developments later on.
As always, if you’re filing for divorce, having a skilled attorney is crucial to getting a favorable result. Read on for an overview of the process, then be sure to consult with the Law Offices of Granoff & Kessler before you begin your divorce proceedings.
How to file for divorce in Florida
Florida allows anyone to divorce in the state so long as they have lived there for six months or more, and can show that their marriage is irreparably broken or the spouse has been incapacitated mentally for three years or more. You file your petition for the dissolution of marriage in the county where either spouse resides. If your spouse accepts the papers, they will file an answer. If, however, they try to dodge service, things can get more complicated; your attorney will help you navigate this possibility.
You will generally need to disclose your finances by signed affidavit, unless you qualify for a simple dissolution of marriage. This process is available to those without dependent children (including current pregnancies), who are in agreement on how to divide assets and debts and when neither party wants alimony.
The court may order mediation, which gives you the chance to settle matters before you go to trial. If you can’t agree on what to do, the case will go to trial. You may be ordered to pay alimony to your spouse, depending on the circumstances of your divorce.
Assets and debts
Florida considers all assets and debts acquired during the marriage to be marital property, and will do their best to divide both equitably—not equally. The court takes into account the value of all property and debts as well as mitigating factors, such as if one spouse took time from their career to care for children, or if one spouse put the other through school. Length of the marriage, whether one spouse “wasted” assets (often with a cheating partner), earning potential of both parties and childcare requirements are also taken into consideration.
Custody and child support
If you have minor dependent children, custody and child support will be an issue. The non-custodial parent may be ordered to pay, although the court will always take issues like earning power, expenses, how many children there are to support and other factors into account. Custody will also be taken under consideration, and if the children are old enough, their personal preferences will be taken into account.
Divorce is rarely an easy process, but having a good lawyer on your side will help you navigate the particulars of Florida’s divorce laws. Reach out to the Law Offices of Granoff & Kessler today for a consultation.
Categorized in: Divorce