At its simplest, a divorce, also known as a “dissolution of marriage” in the State of Florida, is a legal action taken by married individuals to terminate their marital union. It involves the process of dividing marital assets, determining spousal support if necessary, and if you have children, settling on matters of child custody and support.
Here are key aspects to understand:
1. Grounds for Divorce: Florida is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means that either spouse can
file for divorce without having to prove that the other did something wrong. The person filing for
divorce only needs to state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
2. Residency Requirement: At least one spouse must have lived in Florida for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.
3. Property Division: Florida follows an “equitable distribution” rule, meaning marital property is
divided fairly, but not necessarily equally, between spouses.
4. Spousal Support/Alimony: This is not guaranteed in every case. The court considers various
factors such as length of the marriage, each spouse’s economic circumstances, and the
contribution of each spouse to the marriage.
5. Child Custody and Support: Florida courts make decisions in the best interest of the child. The state encourages shared parental responsibility and strives to allow the child frequent and
continuing contact with both parents.
6. Process: The process begins when one spouse files a ‘Petition for Dissolution of Marriage’ with the court. If both parties agree on all terms, it can be a simplified divorce process. If not, it could involve negotiations, mediation, or a court trial.
When considering the filing of a divorce, here are the initial steps that the lawyers at Fairway Law Group advise you to consider:
1. Obtain A New Email Address: If you believe there is any possibility that your spouse has access to your email address, it will be smart to obtain a new email address. This will allow you to know that any communications sent to you from your attorney will be private.
2. Start Gathering Financial Information: Start by collecting and organizing all your financial
records including bank statements, credit card statements, tax returns, retirement accounts,
mortgages, and any other documents showing income, debt, assets, or liabilities. This will be
vital when it comes to the division of assets and debts and is a requirement in divorce cases.
3. Consider Your Living Situation: Decide whether you want to stay in your marital home during
the divorce or whether another living arrangement might be better for your emotional wellbeing
and/or the wellbeing of your children if any are involved.
4. Think about Custody Preferences: If you have children, start thinking about what type of
custody arrangement you believe would be in their best interest. This can be a sensitive topic,
but the earlier you consider this, the better prepared you’ll be.
5. Inventory Personal Property: Make a list of all the personal property that belongs to you, such
as jewelry, vehicles, furniture, or any other items of value. This can be important in the property
division aspect of your divorce.
6. Establish Individual Credit: If you do not already have credit in your own name, consider
applying for a credit card or loan to establish it. This can be crucial in establishing your financial
7. Seek Emotional Support: Don’t underestimate the emotional strain of divorce. It can be helpful to start seeing a therapist or counselor, or join a support group to help navigate your emotions during this process.
What is the Role of an Attorney in the Florida Divorce Process
At the core, an attorney serves as your advocate and guide, ensuring your interests are protected, and helping you understand and navigate the legal system. Below are some key aspects of an attorney’s role:
1. Legal Advice: We provide advice about your rights and responsibilities under Florida law. We will explain the potential outcomes you could expect in your case and guide you in making informed decisions.
2. Filing and Paperwork: The divorce process involves a significant amount of legal paperwork. An attorney ensures that all necessary documents are correctly completed and filed in a timely
manner with the appropriate court.
3. Negotiation and Mediation: A major part of any divorce involves negotiations between the
parties on issues like property division, spousal support, and child custody. We will represent
your interests during these negotiations and work towards a settlement that is favorable to you.
4. Representation in Court: If negotiations fail, or if it’s in your best interest, we will represent you in court proceedings to advocate for your rights.
5. Ensuring Compliance: Once a divorce agreement or court order is in place, we will assist you in enforcing the agreement with your ex-spouse.
At Fairway Law Group, we pride ourselves on providing comprehensive and empathetic legal support while aggressively representing our clients. We’ll be there to walk you through each step, keeping you informed and making sure your voice is heard throughout the process.