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Florida Divorce Laws

Divorce Laws in Florida

To understand Florida divorce laws, you must first know what the types of divorce are. There are two types of divorces in Florida, contested and uncontested. Uncontested means that both parties agree on everything. A contested divorce means that the judge must decide one or more issues because the parties cannot agree.

There is no jury in a divorce case in Florida, the judge makes the decisions. To get a divorce in Florida, one party must live here for 6 months immediately before the filing of the case. A party will eventually get a divorce just by asking for one if the marriage is irretrievably broken.

An uncontested divorce in Florida can be concluded in about 4 to 6 weeks, are inexpensive, and often do not require a court appearance by the parties if Attorney Arnie Gruskin represents you. You can call him at 1-800-NOW DIVORCE days, nights, or weekends.

Florida Divorce Laws

Florida Divorce Laws

It is important to be aware of the divorce laws in Florida. Contested divorces can take a long time. They can also be quite aggravating and somewhat expensive, even for a medium-priced attorney such as Arnie Gruskin, who is highly experienced with 30 plus years as an attorney.

Florida Divorce Laws FL

Florida Divorce Law

The issues in a divorce may include child support and health insurance if children are involved, as well as time sharing. We no longer use the terms custody and visitation in FL, but rather use the term "time sharing". Timesharing is based on what is in the best interest of the children. It is important to be aware of these Florida divorce laws regarding child support, health insurance, and related matters.

Child support is determined by a formula / calculation under Florida child support laws. The parties cannot just pick a number unless it is higher than the amount required by the statute. The formula for child support in terms of the amount and which party will pay the support revolves around 1) how many overnights per month each parent will have with the children, and 2) how much income each parent has. In unique circumstances the court can deviate from what the statutory formula requires for child support.

Divorce Laws in Florida

Divorce Laws in Florida for Division of Marital Assets and Debts

Another Florida divorce law concerns division of property, which typically but not always is a 50/50 split as to assets accumulated during the marriage. And as a general proposition it doesn't matter whose name they are in if they were accumulated during the marriage.

A 50/50 split may also occur as to the assets which a party had before the marriage if for example they put them into both names during the marriage. Inherited property and gifts to one party from a third party will remain the separate non marital property of that party.

Debts accumulated during the marriage are also split 50/50, unless for example one party does not make enough money to pay 50%. And it doesn't matter whose name the debt is in. Even if it is just in one party's name, it is still marital debt if it was accumulated during the marriage, and the other party will have some responsibility. Attorney Arnie Gruskin can advise you on the divorce laws in Florida related to the division of marital debts and assets.

Florida Divorce Law

Florida Divorce Alimony Laws

Other issues in a divorce include alimony and payment of attorney’s fees. A client should be aware of Florida divorce alimony laws. Alimony, or spousal support, is granted where one party has a need for assistance and the other party has the ability to pay.

So, for example, depending on the length of the marriage and other factors, if a party cannot pay their regular bills on their income, and the other party has excess funds after payment of their normal monthly expenses, the judge may award alimony for a specific period of time or even on a permanent basis. When making a ruling on alimony the judge will consider the length of the marriage and other factors in the statute.

Florida Divorce Laws in Florida

Understanding Florida Divorce Laws

Note that permanent alimony is usually only awarded in a long-term marriage where the previously mentioned two prong test of need and ability to pay is met. And permanent doesn't really mean permanent. It is until the death of one party, or remarriage of the party receiving support, or the existence of what is called a supportive relationship.

In other words permanent alimony could end or be modified if the receiving party for example moves in with a boyfriend who is sharing expenses, and thus lessening the economic needs of the receiving party.

Similarly, the judge can order one party to pay some or all of the other parties’ attorney’s fees accumulated during the divorce proceedings. If the judge finds that one party does not have the financial resources to pay their own fees, and the other party has the financial ability to assist them, then fees may be awarded.

And there is another issue to be considered when assessing a party’s income to see if they have a need for assistance regarding alimony or attorney fees, or the ability to pay attorney fees or alimony for the other party.

A court can impute income to someone. For example a party may be purposely choosing to make less than they are capable of earning. In certain circumstances a court can proceed as if the party is earning what they are capable of earning, i.e. impute income to them. (And imputing income can also be used to determine what income level should be assigned to a party for purposes of calculating child support.)

This is why it can be very helpful to work with a lawyer who is highly knowledgeable about Florida divorce laws. And of course if you don’t like a judge’s decision in a case, you can always challenge the decision by filing an appeal. (Appeals are time consuming, difficult and expensive, even with a moderately priced attorney like Arnie Gruskin.)

If you have any questions at all about Florida divorce or family law matters, including paternity or prenuptial agreements, feel free to call Attorney Gruskin days, nights or weekends at 1-800-NOW DIVORCE.

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