Types of Divorce Available in Florida
Know the types of divorce availableThree types of Divorce exist in Florida:
(1) Regular Dissolution of Marriage
(2) Simplified (or uncontested) Dissolution of Marriage
(3) Collaborative Law Dissolution of Marriage
Know if you qualify for a simplified dissolutionSimplified Divorce: Certain Florida couples are eligible to dissolve their marriage by way of a simplified procedure. These proceedings were designed so the services of an attorney may not be necessary. Couples often can obtain the necessary forms from the Clerk of Court. Couples are required to sign these forms and to appear before a judge together when the final dissolution is granted. Additionally, If you want an attorney to represent you, the expense is usually minimal. However, not everyone is eligible to use this procedure. Also, even if you are eligible, using this procedure is not advisable if there are any unusual circumstances in your divorce or relationship.
Learn How A Regular Divorce WorksThe regular dissolution process begins with a petition for dissolution of marriage, filed with the circuit court by the husband or wife, which states that the marriage is irretrievably broken and sets out what the person wants from the court. The other partner must file an answer within 20 days, addressing the matters within the initial petition and raising any additional issues the answering party desires the court to address. If alimony or children are involved, then financial affidavits also must be filed so the court can determine the appropriate awards.
There can be many complex issues associated with a regular dissolution of marriage such as property settlements, child support, alimony, parenting plans, visitation, and custody. It is advisable to contact an attorney that will assist with your dissolution without protracted litigation. But if this is not possible, your attorney must be able to aggressively represent you in court
Learn About Collaborative DivorceCollaborative Law is an alternative to family law litigation in which a mutually acceptable agreement is reached without going to court. Collaborative law engages a team of professionals who work together to help you reach the best outcome for your family. It can be less costly than a litigated divorce and offers more privacy than traditional divorce litigation, since the process, discussions and negotiations are kept confidential. It also offers more flexibility for the parties to tailor solutions to their particular circumstances. However, if the collaborative process is unsuccessful, then your collaborative lawyer cannot represent you at trial.
Know How Property Division (Also called Equitable Distribution) Works in a DivorceIn Florida, all marital debts and all marital assets generally are divided equally, with a few exceptions. The trick is to determine whether a particular debt or asset is marital. Generally, if an asset was obtained during the marriage as a result of effort expended during the marriage, then it is marital
One of the most difficult and complex areas of divorce is the division of marital assets and liabilities (debts). A competent attorney will assist you to determine the best division of marital property, such as cars, houses, retirement benefits (pensions), business interests, cash, stocks, bonds, bank accounts, personal property, and other things of value. Additionally, your attorney should also assist you in the distribution of marital liabilities such as mortgages, car loans, credit card accounts, and other debts.
Know How Alimony WorksThere are several types of alimony. Some types include:
Permanent Periodic Alimony is usually paid monthly and lasts until the receiving former spouse dies, remarries or cohabits with another. This type of alimony is primarily reserved for long term marriages.
Lump Sum Alimony also is usually reserved for long term marriages. It is paid all at once to avoid continued payments over a long period of time.
Rehabilitative Alimony is designed to help a former spouse update work skills to be able to better compete in the work force.
Alimony is not based on one particular formula. Each situation is unique, so your attorney's skill and experience in this area is critical. It is imperative that your attorney is skilled at making the best possible argument either for or against alimony. After equitable distribution has been made, the court may consider the award of alimony.
Determine the Best Parenting Plan for Your Children (Custody is No Longer Used)Florida has eliminated the use of the term "custody". Now the law speaks in terms of a parenting plan. A parenting plan sets forth very specifically when the child(ren) is with each parent. Parenting plans may be negotiated and agreed upon by the parties. Careful thought and consideration should be given to this plan since it will govern for many years after the divorce. If the parties are unable to come to an agreement, the court will impose a parenting plan.
Discuss Attorneys Fees for Your DivorceDivorce does not have to be expensive. The more complex your affairs and the more contested the issues, the more the dissolution will cost. At an initial meeting, your attorney should provide you with an estimate of the total cost of a dissolution based on the information you provide. To a large extent the cost will depend on how contested the matter becomes. Therefore, you should carefully budget for your attorneys fees and if necessary, ask your attorney for a payment plan. Sometimes the court will order your spouse to pay part or all of your fees and costs, but such awards are unpredictable and cannot be relied upon.