Studies have shown that 12.6% of married couples in Florida will wind up getting divorced. If you find yourself potentially facing a divorce in Florida, it’s important to know the ins-and-outs of the state’s law to better equip yourself of what may be ahead. Whether your divorce is ending with feelings of betrayal or indifference, you’ll need to know exactly what rights you have under Florida state law in order to come to an amicable agreement in which both parties receive exactly what they deserve.
If you’re going through or about to go through a divorce in Florida and would like to learn more about what to expect read on for some important information on what your divorce proceedings may entail.
1. What to Consider When Going Through a Divorce in Florida
Before diving into the following laws, it’s important to try and have a clear and mature conversation with your former spouse in order to reach a peaceful agreement.
Divorce is known to come with its fair share of hurt feelings, especially when children are involved. For the sake of all parties involved, being able to have a civil conversation is always the best option.
In the event the civil conversation is not possible, it’s best to speak directly with your lawyer to avoid any further confusion or problems from arising.
2. The Amount of Time Spent in Florida
Whether or not Florida state laws on divorce apply to you depends on the amount of time that you’ve been living in Florida. However, this does not necessarily mean that you had to live in Florida as a couple. At least one of the divorcing parties is expected to provide proof of them living in Florida for a minimum of six months before the divorce petition was filed in order for the Florida state laws to apply.
3. Divorce Court or Family Court
When it comes to determining whether or not your divorce is a matter for standard divorce court or family court, it’s a simple matter as to whether or not there are children or minor children involved.
The State of Florida considers the matter of child custody in the best interest of the child to be of the utmost importance and in divorce cases which is why the presence of children or miners would dramatically influence the proceedings of a divorce. Being able to come to a strong agreement over custody and joint parenting outside of court, with or without the help of legal counsel, is one of the best things you can do to help reduce the emotional effects of the divorce on your children.
If there are no children shared between the married party, then the couple may apply for a simple dissolution of marriage application. From there the divorcing parties can come to an agreement on what will be done with their remaining assets and discuss alimony and further payments. In this case, the family court is not necessary.
If the divorcing party has trouble reaching an agreement on such matters, then divorce court may be an option worth pursuing.
There are still some factors that come into play for whether or not a couple is eligible for a simplified dissolution.
These factors include
- whether or not the wife is currently pregnant
- whether there any minors or dependent
- whether or not both parties can agree that the marriage is broken
- no partners are requesting alimony
- no partners are requesting information aside from the court-approved financial affidavit (more on this below)
- both Partners have surrendered their right to an appeal
- both partners are willing to go and sign the petition
- and both partners are present at the final court hearing
If all of these factors are approved, the couple may be eligible to dissolve their marriage.
It’s important to remember that the only two grounds accepted by Florida law for the dissolution of marriage state that the marriage is irretrievably broken or that one of the spouses has been mentally incapacitated for over 3 years.
4. Matters of Custody
In the event that there are children and custody needs to be negotiated, this decision is typically decided among the couple. In the event that the couple cannot come to a shared agreement as to how the custody of the child will be divided, the courts may appoint a mediator or counselor to help make the final decision.
The opinion of the mediator or counselor will then be presented to the judge who will appoint custody to one or both of the parties.
A custody agreement will also include other important decisions such as the amount of child support that may be ordered, visitation schedules, and who will be in charge of primary decision-making over the child.
Once again, if the couple is unable to make this decision together, the court will have to make one on behalf of what is healthiest for the child.
5. The Division of Assets
When it comes to dividing assets between the couple, it’s best to have any documentation that proves liabilities, transactions, and original ownership. These documents will be used to assess what’s fairly divided among the couple.
These documents may also be used with a tax attorney as your current tax status and filing situation may be affected once the divorce is complete.
Some factors the court may look into while determining the division of remaining assets include
- the partner’s contributions are sacrifices that were made during the marriage.
- how long the marriage lasted
- if either partner contributed towards the enhancement of the others career or education
- Deteriorating a business or home when there is a dependent child
- any acts of waste or destruction that were done after filing for divorce or two years prior to filing from one party to another
- any additional factors that may be defined as equity
If required, the court may also need to look into testimonies provided as character witnesses or in the form of provided documents.
6. Submitting an Affidavit
Couples divorcing in the state of Florida are required to submit an affidavit. This is a document that contains all of their financial information in order to ensure the division of assets and finances is done so in a clear and transparent manner.
This affidavit is used as the basis for determining the amount of alimony, child support, and how the division of other assets may be computed.
7. Divorce and Taxes
Among the financial documents that may be submitted, tax returns dating up to 3 years ago may also be submitted with the affidavit.
This is to fully take into account all expenses and earnings that may have taken place among the couple.
It’s suggested to speak with a tax accountant if you have any questions on pending tax matters post-divorce.
8. Remaining debt
In the State of Florida, all debt such as mortgages and car payments are typically divided evenly among the divorcing parties.
Still, it’s important to remember the debts that had occurred before the couple came together are typically exempt from being divided. This may include things like student loans or business loans that were taken out and can be easily traced to before the date of marriage.
9. College Payments
While alimony and child support may be enforced by the court, the state of Florida plays no part in determining whether or not either parent is required to pay for college.
This is a matter that must be agreed upon between the couple and must be recorded in the original divorce agreement.
Finding Legal Counsel You Need
Divorce in Florida can be messy enough without issues being dragged into court. However, in the event that your divorce requires a court proceeding or you find it necessary to fight to receive the adequate amount of alimony or child support, it’s in your best interest to find the legal counsel that can help.
It’s important to have a lawyer behind you that understands the ins and outs of the Florida state laws, and that can adequately assess the documents and affidavit provided to help you claim what’s rightfully yours.
From child custody to dealing with issues of alimony our team is here to help you every step of the way. We understand the emotional rollercoaster that comes with divorce and are here to bring you some peace of mind while fighting on your behalf.
If you would like to learn more about how our team can help you both in and out of the divorce court contact us today for more information on how we can be of assistance.