Deciding to get a divorce is never an easy decision, and it is one that should never be taken lightly. If you are going through a divorce in the state of Florida, there are many things to consider and many “traps” to watch out for.
The person that you have spent many years with, who was supposed to be a lifelong partner may suddenly become your worst enemy. Having some knowledge of divorce in Florida will help to make sure you don’t make any hasty decisions.
Here are a few facts to consider:
1. At least one spouse must live in Florida for a period of six months before filing for divorce.
2. The petition for divorce and other paperwork must be filed in one of two places:
a) the county where the non-filing party resides; or
b) the county where the parties last lived before separation.
3. Florida is considered a “no-fault” divorce state. That means that as long one spouse lives in Florida for at least six months before filing the divorce, it may be filed if the marriage is “irretrievably broken”. Essentially, if one or both spouses want the divorce for whatever reason, the divorce process can be initiated.
4. While many divorces are contested – meaning the parties cannot agree on all or some of the issues – many divorces are uncontested. This means that the parties agree on all of the issues including:
5. In an uncontested divorce, the parties enter into a Marital Settlement Agreement and attend a very short final hearing. The court will usually sign off on the divorce within 30 days.
6. In Florida, each party will receive an equitable distribution of the marital property (all property acquired during the marriage). However, while it is presumed that each party will receive a split down the middle, the court does not have to award a 50/50 property distribution. If the parties cannot agree on a property division, the court will consider a number of factors in determining the split.
7. The court may award spousal support (also known as alimony) based on financial circumstances, the length and duration of the marriage, each partner’s needs, and if the other partner has the ability to pay. BUT, it is not a given. The court will consider a number of other factors before granting spousal support.
As you can see, there are many things to understand and consider when going through a Florida divorce. A reputable, experienced family law attorney will be able to address each and every question and concern along the way. He or she will also be able to explain to you all the nuances of Florida family law.
A family law attorney’s knowledge and expertise will give you peace of mind and ensure you do not waive your rights to property, assets, support, or parenting time that may be rightfully yours. Moreover, your family law attorney will act in your best interest and can provide you with counsel during this difficult time.
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