When you get married, you enter a legal contract with someone else. If you decide you want to divorce, you must dissolve the contract. Just like any other contract, this requires meeting specific requirements.
At Griffin Family Law, PLLC, you can speak to an experienced divorce attorney who can help you understand the divorce process and your rights. You will also learn about the four types of divorce, or Dissolution of Marriage, in the state.
Understanding Florida Divorce Laws
Florida adheres to a no-fault divorce system. According to this, either spouse in the marriage can file for divorce. They do not have to prove fault or wrongdoing by the other person. The only requirement is establishing that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
This approach reduces the bitterness often associated with fault-based divorces, simplifying the legal process. It allows couples to focus on resolving practical matters like asset division, child custody, and support rather than proving fault.
Residency Requirements for Filing
To file for divorce in Florida, at least one of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least six months before the filing date. This residency requirement ensures that Florida courts have jurisdiction over the divorce case. Establishing residency typically involves providing proof such as a driver’s license, voter registration, or an affidavit from a corroborating witness.
Equitable Distribution of Assets
An important part that may involve some level of contention is asset division. In Florida, the law follows equitable distribution rules. This is true for assets and liabilities acquired during the marriage. Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split, unlike community property states.
Instead, the court considers various factors to determine a fair distribution, including each spouse’s financial situation, the duration of the marriage, and contributions to the marriage, including childcare and homemaking. This allows for a more tailored and just division of assets based on the specific circumstances of each case.
Options for Filing for Divorce
In Florida, there are several options for filing for divorce, each catering to different circumstances. These include:
Simplified Dissolution of Marriage
Simplified dissolution of marriage is an expedited divorce process in Florida that is ideal for couples without children and significant assets or liabilities. This streamlined approach requires both parties to agree on the property division and waive the right to spousal support.
It involves filling out fewer forms and a quicker resolution, as there’s no need for a trial or extensive legal proceedings. Couples must jointly file for this type of divorce, demonstrating mutual agreement on ending the marriage. This makes it a cost-effective and time-efficient option for eligible couples seeking an amicable separation.
Uncontested divorces are a popular option for some couples if they agree on all the major aspects of their separation. You can choose this divorce option if you and your partner agree on things like asset division, spousal support, and child custody. This type of divorce is typically quicker and less expensive than a contested one, as it avoids lengthy court battles.
The process involves drafting a marital settlement agreement outlining the divorce terms, which is then presented to the court for approval. Uncontested divorces are suitable for couples who can communicate effectively and reach mutually agreeable solutions, leading to a more amicable and straightforward dissolution of the marriage.
A Contested Divorce in Florida arises when spouses cannot agree on key issues like property division, child custody, or alimony. This type of divorce typically involves a trial where a judge makes the final decisions on these contested matters.
The process can be lengthy, expensive, and emotionally challenging due to the adversarial nature of court proceedings. Each spouse, represented by their respective attorneys, presents evidence and arguments to support their position.
Contested divorces are common when disagreements are significant and compromise seems out of reach, necessitating legal intervention to resolve disputes.
Collaborative Divorce is a non-adversarial approach to ending a marriage, emphasizing cooperation over confrontation. In this process, both parties and their respective attorneys agree to work together to reach a mutually acceptable settlement without going to court.
This method often involves other professionals like financial advisors and mental health counselors. It focuses on open communication, respect, and the family’s needs.
Collaborative Divorce allows couples to maintain control over their divorce outcome, often leading to more personalized solutions and preserving a cordial post-divorce relationship, which is particularly beneficial when children are involved.
At Griffin Family Law, PLLC, you can speak with an attorney who can explain the pros and cons of each option. They can also help you select the method that suits your needs and situation.
The Role of a Divorce Attorney
A skilled divorce attorney is invaluable in navigating the complexities of Florida divorce law. They offer the following services in these cases.
Guidance Through Legal Complexities
A divorce attorney guides clients through the often complex legal landscape of divorce proceedings. Their expertise is invaluable in understanding and navigating the various laws and regulations that govern divorce in a specific jurisdiction.
An attorney can help clarify legal terms, explain the implications of different choices, and provide an overview of the divorce process. This guidance ensures clients make informed decisions aligned with their best interests and legal rights.
Representation and Advocacy
Divorce attorneys are not just legal advisors but advocates for their client’s rights and interests. In negotiations over property division, child custody, spousal support, and other key aspects of a divorce settlement, a skilled attorney will negotiate on behalf of their client, striving to secure the most favorable outcome.
They represent their clients in court, presenting evidence and arguments to support their position. This representation is crucial, especially in contested divorces, where the stakes can be high and the legal process intimidating.
Emotional Support and Objectivity
Besides legal expertise, divorce attorneys often provide emotional support to their clients. They offer a level of objectivity that can be hard to maintain in the emotionally charged atmosphere of a divorce.
This support can be invaluable in helping clients make clear-headed decisions during a challenging time. They also help manage the stress and emotional toll of the divorce process, allowing clients to focus on moving forward with their lives.
Financial Considerations in Divorce
Some of the financial aspects of a Florida divorce include:
Division of Assets and Debts
A critical financial consideration in divorce is the division of marital assets and debts. This encompasses everything acquired during the marriage, including property, investments, and debts. Florida’s equitable distribution law seeks a fair, though not necessarily equal, division.
Factors like each spouse’s economic circumstances, contributions to the marriage (including homemaking and childcare), and the duration of the marriage are considered. Understanding and accurately valuing assets is crucial, often requiring professional appraisals and financial analysis.
Alimony and Child Support
Alimony, or spousal support, is another significant financial aspect of divorce. It is not guaranteed in every case but is determined based on the need of one spouse and the other’s ability to pay. The court examines factors like the standard of living during the marriage, each spouse’s earning capacity, and the length of the marriage.
Child support, on the other hand, is a mandatory consideration when minor children are involved. It is calculated based on the parents’ incomes, the number of children, and the time each parent spends with the children, adhering to Florida’s child support guidelines to ensure a fair contribution from both parents.
Understanding the Florida Divorce Options
Filing for divorce in Florida involves numerous considerations, from understanding state laws to making critical financial and emotional decisions. At Griffin Family Law, PLLC, our experienced Florida divorce attorneys are here to offer expert guidance and support, ensuring your divorce process is as smooth and equitable as possible.
Contact us today to discuss your options and take the first step towards a new beginning. The law firm also offers legal services and advice for other family law matters.