Divorce simply refers to the dissolution of a marriage. Divorce laws are state governed and may vary from state to state. Florida is a no-fault divorce state meaning that as long as the requirements for a divorce are met, the marriage may be dissolved.
Divorce petitions must be filed in the county where either the couple last resided as husband and wife or in the county where either spouse currently resides. There are multiple documents that must be filed with court as well as specific requirements and procedures that must be met in order to obtain a divorce in Florida.
The divorce process is much faster and must less costly if the parties can reach an agreement without a lengthy trial. Mediation is one of the means by which a couple can reach an agreement themselves. Some counties in Florida require that the parties attempt to reach an agreement through mediation prior to proceeding to trial.
Florida also offers an alternative to the regular divorce referred to as a simplified divorce. However, this simplified divorce process is available only under certain circumstances and only if certain requirements are met.
A divorce can involve a variety of issues that must either be settled between the parties or decided by the court. Issues that might arise in a divorce include a division of the assets and debts, time sharing with minor children, child support, alimony, and payment of attorney’s fees.
Division of Assets and Debts
Florida is an equitable distribution state meaning that the court will require that the marital assets and debts be divided fairly. Assets can include, but are not limited to, houses, vehicles, boats, bank accounts, retirement accounts, furniture and electronics. Not every asset is necessarily a marital asset so a determination must be made as to which assets are marital assets and which assets are not marital assets. The court will consider a series of factors when determining a fair and equitable division of the marital assets. Keep in mind that a fair and equitable division of assets does not automatically mean an exact equal division of assets.
Time Sharing with Minor Children
If a divorce involves minor children, time sharing will be an issue. Florida courts view parenting as a responsibility that is shared between the parties and aim to have both parties be active participants in the lives of minor children. It is always better if the parties are able to agree on time sharing with minor children. Once a decision as to time sharing has been reached, the agreement is made part of the parenting plan. The parenting plan will often address other issues such as:
- When and how will the minor children be transported between the parties?
- How are extracurricular activities handled?
- Who will get to spend holidays with the minor children?
- Who will be responsible for maintaining health insurance for the minor children?
- How will travel with the minor children be handled?
- Who will choose which school the minor children will attend?
To learn more about parenting plans and child custody, click here.
To learn more about child support, click here.
During a divorce, the court may consider awarding alimony to one of the parties. There are several types of alimony that may be awarded and a list of factors that the court uses in determining the amount of alimony that may be awarded.
To learn more about alimony in Florida, click here.
Divorce affects the entire family. Prior to filing for divorce we recommend that you and your spouse attempt to save your marriage. If you decide that divorce is an option that you wish to consider, we are here to help you every step of the way. Our attorneys can assist you in assessing your particular situation, discussing all aspects of divorce and what it might mean for you and your family and helping you to determine if divorce is the right option for you.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with one of our Tampa Divorce Attorneys!