Florida possesses the tenth highest divorce rate states in the U.S., and the divorce process in Florida has become more difficult than ever. For divorcing or separating couples, it can be extremely challenging to make mutual decisions surrounding marital assets, alimony and child custody or visitation schedules.
Use this resource to introduce yourself to some of the decisions that you will need to make over the next few months. You’ll want to think about each and every part, so you understand what you’ll be planning with your attorney.
If both parties are able to communicate, then they can most likely agree on how to divide all the their marital assets. However, this is not often the case. The word divorce can cause many emotions including anger and hurt, which can lead to a lot of conflict during the resolution stage. At this point in time, each spouse will hire an experienced divorce attorney or mediator to help them negotiate outside of court, before going in front of a judge.
It’s extremely important to know and understand Florida divorce law is when it comes to your marital assets. Rules on property division vary by state. However, the state of Florida the division of property must be fair to both of the involved parties. A majority of the times assets are split 50/50, unless a judge sees this division as unfair, than the division percentage could be less.
What may seem fair to a judge may not necessarily feel fair to you. You should be aware of all of the factors that a judge considers when making a “Fair” ruling on marital assets including:
- The length of time you’ve been married
- Your circumstances within the current economy
- Career/learning interruptions
- Marriage contributions
- Any career/learning contributions from one spouse to another
- Both parties contributions to an increased income
- Both parties contributions to acquire non-marital or marital assets
- Any destruction, depletion, waste or intentional dissipation of marital assets by either spouse (Up to 2 years before and anytime thereafter filing a divorce petition)
- The level of difficulty involved in dividing each asset (especially if children are involved)
Non-marital assets are anything of property or value that either spouse owned prior to the marriage, including any pre-existing debts.
Some other relevant considerations a judge has when determining what is “Fair” regarding non-marital asset division are:
- Any non-marital property (debts and assets) previously defined within a written agreement by both spouses
- Any income from non-marital property (unless treated as marital property)
- Any items that are bought or exchanged for non-marital property
Either way, in the end everything will get divided one way or another, but hiring a qualified divorce professional can save you time and help you to get the best potential outcome.
Alimony, Spousal Support or Maintenance
Alimony or spousal support essentially means that one spouse must continue to financial support the other spouse by law, even after they become separated or divorced. This can go either way, either a husband may be legally obliged to pay spousal support to his wife, in a Gender-Equal world a wife may also be ordered to pay alimony or support to her husband.
In Florida the sole purpose of a judge awarding alimony to one spouse is to help them get to a financial stable position or maintain the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed to.
Before a judge reaches a decision on alimony, they will analyze the length of the marriage to classify it as either a short-term, moderate-term or long-term marriage. If your marriage lasted fewer than 7 years, it would be classified as a short-term marriage. However, if the marriage was more than 7 years, but less than 17 years it would be considered moderate-term marriage. Any marriage lasting over 17 years is a long-term marriage.
Although there are various types of alimony including temporary alimony, bridge-the-gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony, durational alimony and permanent alimony, it may ease your mind to know that bridge-the-gap, durational, and permanent alimony will only cease if either spouse dies or the receiving spouse remarries.
Some of the most difficult decisions that divorcing couples can make are the decisions that surround their children. In Florida court, decisions for child custody are solely made based on the children’s best interest. A judge will consider:
- Health and safety
- Emotional needs
- Developmental needs
- Communication and co-parenting skills
- Moral fitness and ethical development
- Custody options available
- Parenting plans
There is a lot that’s involved when it comes to child custody matters and it’s never easy to go through it alone. You need to make crucial decisions when it comes to your children’s health, safety, needs and what type of custody arrangements you want to incorporate into your parenting plan.
Your plan may need to go into greater detail, including your level of responsibility surrounding parenting, the frequency of your involvement, setting time-sharing schedules, deciding on a primary or custodial parent and outlining methods that will be used for communicating with your children.
No matter which type of Family Law matter you are dealing with, we’re sure you’re probably feeling a bit overwhelmed or have a tons of questions. We are here to guide you every step of the way and provide you with the answers you need in this difficult and trying time. Contact Quinn Law Firm, P.A. to get the help you deserve.