Jacksonville Divorce Lawyers
Get Legal Help for Your Florida Divorce
The decision to divorce is fraught with emotion. In the middle of the complicated and intense feelings the divorce process can produce, you may have difficulty remembering that divorce is also a business matter: you are dividing up your assets and debts with your former spouse.
If you’re experiencing or expecting a rocky divorce, or just want to ensure a smooth one, an experienced Florida divorce attorney from Farah & Farah can help you focus on getting the equitable arrangement you need to move forward with your life. To find out more about how we can help, call us at (904) 263-4610.
What is Fault vs. No Fault Divorce in Florida?
Florida is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means that either spouse can file for divorce without having to prove the other one did anything wrong. The only thing the spouses must establish is that their marriage is “irretrievably broken”. In addition, one spouse must have been a Florida resident for at least six months before filing for divorce in Florida.
Since each family is different, the issues and solutions that affect your Florida divorce must be tailored to your needs. Some issues that arise in many divorce situations, however, include division of property, alimony, child custody, and child support.
What is Division of Property?
When a married couple divorces, they must divide both the assets and the debts acquired during the marriage. Assets, also called “property,” might include real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement or pension accounts, stocks and bonds, personal property, cash, and other items of value. Debts include mortgages, car loans, credit cards, and other sums the couple owe to someone else.
Most of the assets and debts acquired during the marriage are considered marital property and must be divided equitably between the divorcing individuals. “Equitable” does not always mean “equal.”
Divorcing spouses may consider factors like who earned an asset or acquired a debt, who uses a certain vehicle or personal item more, and other factors, as long as one spouse does not end up unduly rewarded with assets or unduly burdened with debts. If the spouses cannot agree on an equitable distribution of assets, a Florida court may make the distribution for them.
How is Alimony Determined in Florida?
Alimony, also known as “spousal support,” consists of one or more payments one former spouse makes toward the care and upkeep of the other. Either a husband or a wife can receive – or pay – alimony in Florida.
Not all divorce cases involve alimony payments. Generally, alimony will not be awarded if the spouses are on relatively equal footing when it comes to ability to earn income to pay their bills. However, if one spouse makes significantly less money than the other, or if one spouse chose to forego education or career-building to stay home and raise a family, the spouses may agree to or the court may order alimony payments. Alimony may be paid in one lump sum or over time; it may also be temporary or permanent, depending on the needs of each spouse and the court’s decision.
How is Child Custody and Support Established?
Couples that have children under age 18 will also have to decide issues relating to child custody and, if needed, child support. Child custody questions deal with where the children will live, when and how often they will see each parent, and who is responsible for making important decisions for the kids regarding school, medical care, religious upbringing, and other matters. Parents may have joint custody, or one parent may have primary custody with the other having specific times set aside to see the kids, known as “visitation.”
If the parents share physical custody more or less equally, child support may not be necessary. However, if the children live primarily with one parent, the other parent may agree or be ordered to make support payments to help cover the costs of the child’s basic needs. In Florida divorce cases, child support is decided on a case-by-case basis, and child support decisions are based on the best interests of the child or children involved. Parents may also make their own child custody and support arrangements, which the court may approve if they appear to be in the child’s best interests.
Making the Right Decisions for Your Future
At Farah & Farah, our dedicated Jacksonville family law attorneys understand that divorce isn’t always easy. That’s why we strive to help each of our clients reach a settlement that best meets their needs. If you’re considering divorce or you need help with an ongoing divorce issue, please contact us today for a confidential consultation.