If you are thinking of getting a divorce, there are a few things you ought to know before consulting the Sherrard Law Group. Knowledge of the legal basics on divorce in Florida will save you time and money.
One of the spouses must be a resident of Florida for at least six months before date of filing. Additionally, you must confirm that the marriage is irretrievably broken and cannot be resumed.
Your dissolution of marriage action starts when your divorce attorney files a “petition for dissolution of marriage” with the family division of the local circuit court. The documents will be served upon your spouse. If you and your spouse settle the terms of dividing property, responsibilities for your children, and debt, the divorce may be finalized without trial. Otherwise, you will proceed with production of documents, mediation and a trial will be held to resolve these matters.
Marital assets and liabilities are divided equitably in the event of a divorce, and generally on a 50/50 basis. However, non-marital assets are not subject to equitable distribution.
The judge will bear in mind the economic circumstances of the spouses and their contributions towards the marriage. Assets are divided equally unless there are specific, reasonable grounds for unequal distribution, which is an extraordinary remedy.
When deciding whether to grant alimony, the courts will consider the standard of living during the marriage, the age and health condition of the spouses, and the duration of the marriage. The court must determine that one spouse has a financial need and the other has the financial ability to meet that need. If that is determined, the court must then decide the duration and amount of the spousal support.
Florida no longer refers to “custody” of children. Rather, the court decides upon the responsibility and timesharing schedules of each parent with their children. If you and your former spouse cannot agree on these issues, the decision is left to the court. The judge will decide on parental responsibility and timesharing based on the best interests of the child.
When determining child support, the court reviews the timesharing schedule, the incomes of both parents, child care and health costs and utilizes a Guideline to calculate child support. The judge will rule on an amount for child support based on the statutory guideline provisions.
For the court to divide your assets fairly and determine an amount for support, you are required to file a financial affidavit and present records of tax returns, bank statements, mortgage documents, an inventory of family and household possessions, and other documents necessary to support your request for equitable division, parental responsibility, spousal support and/or fees and cost of the divorce.
Debts incurred by either party during the marriage will be divided equitably, and generally, equally. However, debts incurred before the marriage are not considered marital debts and will remain the debt of the party incurring it.
The Court must consider the effect of taxes when ruling on equitable distribution of assets and debts. Also, a divorce will change your tax filing status. The recent federal tax legislation has dramatically changed the tax aspects of divorces going forward, so the services of a certified public accountant is always recommended to advise you of the tax effects of your divorce.
Remember, a skilled divorce attorney can make a monumental difference in the outcome of your divorce proceedings in Florida. That is why we invite you to contact the Sherrard Law Group for a consultation with one of our experienced divorce attorneys. In addition to assisting in understanding how alimony may affect you, we will provide you with the support you need to handle other issues that may arise as divorce proceedings develop. The qualified attorneys at the Sherrard Law Group will work diligently to help you receive a reasonable and fair divorce outcome. We look forward to serving as your trusted legal representatives during this difficult time.