Florida Divorce Basics
If a divorce is on the horizon for you, it’s important that you understand the laws here in Florida. This can help you prepare for the divorce itself, as well as life after divorce. Here are some of the basics worth knowing.
Who Makes the Decision
If you and your soon-to-be ex can work out the arrangements for your divorce, you simply need the final okay by the judge. On the other hand, if the two of you bicker ceaselessly and cannot come to any agreements, the court will make all decisions. (Hint: it’s usually better to devise your own settlement!)
Marital property and debt is going to have to be divvied up. In Florida, that means the goal is a fair—though not necessarily equal– split of assets (equitable distribution), including retirement accounts and the like. The process involves making a determination as to which assets are excludable separate property (what was owned by each person prior to the marriage or inherited by one person during the marriage), and which ones constitute marital property to be reasonably divided based on their value. Factors included in the deliberation over what is a fair settlement include:
- The financial and health circumstances of each party post-divorce;
- The best arrangements for the family home when children are involved;
- Career/education interruptions as one spouse supported the other’s progress;
- Tax considerations;
- Other issues germane to the situation.
Custody determinations—referred to as “time-sharing arrangements” in Florida– are always made based on the best interests of the children. The parties are required to submit a parenting plan proposing the parameters of visitation. Sometimes one parent may have a history of violence or substance abuse, or other issues that could signal harm to the children. The court may order supervised visitation, or no visitation at all, in such situations. In limited circumstances, such as when one parent is deployed for military duty for 90 days or more, grandparents may be awarded visitation rights as well.
Child and/or Spousal Support
Child support is determined based on each partner’s income and how that plays out according to a schedule of payment guidelines. Spousal support—commonly referred to as alimony—is based on a number of factors, from earnings to the length of marriage, contributions of each spouse to the family (including non-economic contributions) and the skills/education of each individual. In Florida alimony can be limited to a few years or could last until the recipient’s remarriage or death—circumstances determine the settlement.
Getting it Right
These issues can be complicated, not to mention emotionally challenging. That’s why having a Boca Raton divorce attorney advocating on your behalf is so important going forward. At WiseLieberman we are committed to working toward the best possible outcomes for you. Schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.