What You Need To Know About Divorce In Florida
Florida divorce laws can vary from other states and choices you make now about your Florida divorce can have lasting consequences for you and your family. If you are considering filing a Florida divorce and have divorce questions, contact a Florida divorce lawyer for more information.
Florida divorce lawyers understand all the complicated issues surrounding a Florida divorce including child custody, child support, alimony and Florida residency laws. Do not leave your Florida divorce to chance. Find a professional divorce attorney in Florida who can answer all of your divorce questions.
Hiring a Florida divorce lawyer
Do you need a Florida divorce attorney? Divorce attorneys understand the complexities of Florida divorce laws. Are you eligible to receive alimony or spousal support payments? Who will have legal custody of the children? Will you have to pay child support and if so, how much? Contact a Florida divorce lawyer to review your Florida divorce case.
Children and Divorce
Florida child custody laws favor joint legal custody. Florida statutes for child custody suggests, "It is the public policy of this state to assure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or divorce, and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities and joys of childrearing. After considering all relevant facts, the father of the child shall be given the same consideration as the mother in determining the primary residence of a child, irrespective of the age or sex of the child."
Florida courts arranging child custody will consider all other relevant factors including:
- Which parent is most likely to have continued and frequent contact with the non-custodial parent
- The ties that exist between each parent and the child
- The ability of each parent to provide the necessities of life including food, shelter and clothing
- The desire of maintaining continuity in the child's life and how long the child has lived in a safe, stable and satisfactory environment
- The permanence of the proposed custodial home
- The moral fitness of each parent
- The child's home, school and community record
- The child's preference of home (if the child is deemed mature enough) to express their preference
- The willingness of each parent to encourage and facilitate a continued close relationship with the other parent
- Whether or not either party has knowingly supplied false information about domestic violence
- Whether or not there is evidence of domestic violence or child abuse
- All other facts the court deems relevant
Florida Child Support
In the state of Florida, the Florida Department of Revenue will enforce child support orders and help obtain Florida child support payments. These services can include finding a missing parent or determining paternity of a child. Florida child support payments may be taken from income tax refunds, unemployment benefits, workers' compensation benefits and lottery awards. Failure to pay Florida child support can result in severe fines and penalties including: liens against property, arrests and a suspension of a Florida driver's license.
What is the bottom line? In Florida, if you have a child, regardless if you are married or have filed for a Florida divorce, you are responsible for caring for your child until they are 18 years old. Florida takes child support very seriously, and it is important to discuss your Florida child support arrangements with a professional Florida divorce lawyer.
Florida's child support statute (Florida Statute 61.30) determines who and how much child support is paid. The court will consider several factors when allocating Florida child support payments such as: the income of each parent, child care needs, healthcare costs, the age of the child and the amount of each parent's income.
Statutory guidelines exist for calculating Florida child support payments. The final calculated amount may vary from the guidelines if there are additional factors the Florida court considers such as whether or not the child had additional sources of income or high medical or educational costs. Florida courts generally provide a written explanation if they propose a child support payment amount which varies from the statutory child custody payment amount.
Florida Divorce Laws
Dissolution of marriage is the termination of the marriage through court action and can vary by state. Florida's divorce laws are created to protect Florida families and promote the amicable separation of families by reducing the harm done. Florida allows for dissolution of marriage based on the following grounds:
- The marriage is irretrievably broken. This means the court determines there are disputes, disagreements and differences which the spouses can no longer settle. The court must decide these differences are so severe that the marriage is completely broken. Florida courts may determine a couple needs additional counseling and may choose to revisit the case in 3 months.
- One spouse is considered mentally incompetent. Mentally incompetent is seldom used as grounds for divorce. It must be upheld by a judge, and the incompetency must have lasted for at least 3 years.
Legal Separation in Florida
Florida statutes do not outline information related to a Florida "legal separation", but there are provisions for allowing a spouse who is living apart from their husband or wife and minor child to obtain an adjudication of obligation to continue supporting the spouse and minor child. The court will establish the child's residency and outline an arrangement for visitation and custody (Florida Statutes 61.10).
Florida annulments are allowed under Florida divorce law, but they are much more difficult to prove. Dissolution of marriage ends a marriage, but a Florida annulment is declaring that a marriage did not exist. Contact a Florida divorce lawyer for more information about annulling your Florida marriage.
Florida Divorce Residency Requirements
A spouse who wishes to file dissolution of marriage in Florida must live at least 6 months in the state of Florida before filing the dissolution petition. The Florida dissolution of marriage process can be started by filing the petition in the court where either spouse lives. There is a 20 day waiting period from the original petition of dissolution before the final judgment is issued. Under certain conditions, such as injustice, the divorce court may enter the judgment at an earlier date. More detailed information can be found on the dissolution of a Florida marriage in the Florida Statutes 61.021, 61.043 and 61.19.
Alimony in Florida
In the state of Florida there is no set formula for calculating alimony payments, in fact, the amount of alimony paid is at the Florida court's discretion. There are general rules for assessing Florida alimony, and these rules are outlined in Florida Statute 61.08. Under Alimony statutes, either spouse is eligible to receive Florida alimony. It may be awarded temporarily or permanently. The court may decide to have the paying spouse make payments, award the alimony in one lump sump or both.
Florida is a no-fault state, but the courts may consider a spouse's behavior as a factor when calculating Florida alimony payments. The court may also consider the following:
- The standard of living which each spouse is accustomed
- The length of the marriage
- The age, physical and mental health of each spouse
- The financial resources of each spouse
- All assets and liabilities and how they are distributed to each spouse
- The amount of time it would take the receiving spouse to get the proper education to gain adequate employment
- The contribution of each party to the marriage. Did one spouse take care of the home and children? Did one spouse contribute to the education of another spouse?
- The income available to both spouses
- Any other factor which is necessary for justice and equity for both spouses
Under some conditions Florida alimony payments are made through the state depository and can come directly out of the paying spouse's paycheck. Determining alimony in Florida can be a complicated process. Consult with a Florida divorce lawyer for more information about the particulars of your Florida divorce case.