Divorce

In order to get divorced in the State of Florida, either you or your spouse must be a resident of this State for a period of six months preceding the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.  Florida allows you to divorce without having to lay blame with one party, this is sometimes referred to as a "no-fault" divorce.  It is sufficient if there are irreconcilable differences between the Husband and the Wife.  Together with dissolving the status of the parties as married and restoring the parties to single status, a court will also determine how the property of the parties is divided (called Equitable Distribution), whether alimony or spousal support is appropriate, if there are children common to the parties, a court will establish a parenting plan and child support.

Equitable Distribution

As a general rule, any asset acquired or liability incurred by a party to the marriage is considered marital property or marital debt and subject to division by a court.  This rule is true regardless of whether only one party acquired the asset or incurred the debt (with limited exceptions such as an inheritance).  The presumption is that the assets and liabilities should be divided equally, however, a court will weigh multiple factors in determining whether it would be appropriate to unequally divide marital assets and liabilities.

Alimony

Alimony is spousal support and it is intended to keep each party in the lifestyle he or she has become accustomed to during the marriage.  In order for a court to award alimony to a party, the party seeking the alimony must have an actual need for the support and the party from whom alimony is requested must have the ability to pay.  Once a court determines one party’s need and the other party’s ability to pay, a court will analyze various factors to determine the amount and type of alimony awarded.

Children

When there are minor children common to the parties, a court will establish a parenting plan.  A parenting plan will outline the responsibilities of the parties including decision-making authority and which days the children spend with each parent.  Generally, both parents share in  the major decision-making regarding the children’s medical, educational and religious issues.  A court will establish a timesharing schedule with the children keeping in mind the best interests of the minor children.  It is the public policy of the State of Florida that a minor child have continuous and frequent contact with both parents.

Child Support will also be established by the Court when there are minor children involved.  Child support is established pursuant to statutory guidelines and include the net income of each party, which party pays health insurance, which party pays daycare, if any, and the number of overnights the minor children spend with each party.

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