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Frequently Asked Legal Questions About Divorce

Do I have to pay alimony in a divorce?

Florida alimony laws are not very precise. Many factors can determine the amount of alimony you will pay, or whether you will pay any alimony at all. Courts have great discretion in determining the alimony factors to consider and the weight of each factor.

What are the factors Florida courts consider in determining alimony?

Courts may consider many factors when determining alimony including the length of the marriage, your standard of living during the marriage, both spouse’s ability to pay support, whether one of you has been unemployed and unable to care for your child or children, whether one of you gave up your career for the benefit of the marriage and whether one of you became disabled during the marriage and can no longer support themselves.

Who receives custody in a divorce?

Custody is often determined by what is called the child’s best interest criteria. The court will examine you and your spouse’s or other parent’s situation and the past and present interaction with the child to determine how both of your parenting has best served the interests of your child.

How do I get a divorce?

Filing a petition for dissolution of marriage is the first step in the divorce process. Once filed the petition will be served by personal service upon your spouse who then has 20 days to respond. The only prerequisite for obtaining divorce is an allegation that the marriage is irretrievably broken or mental incapacity of one of the parties.

How is child support determined?

The Florida child support guidelines mostly dictate the amount of the support obligation. However, your income and the amount of time sharing you have with your child influences whether you or your spouse will pay child support. The information you and your spouse provide on financial affidavits and via other sources will determine your net income. The net income of both parties is then inserted into the child support guidelines worksheet. The child support calculation formula includes the number of children and the overnights each parent spends with the children per year. The guidelines also include the cost of the health and dental insurance premium paid for the child, as well as childcare expenses.

What happens to retirement funds and 401(k) plans in a divorce?

Retirement funds and 401(k) plans will be divided between the parties based upon various factors. The transfer of the funds from the owner to the other spouse without penalty or tax consequences requires preparation of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). You will need to retain an attorney experienced in determining the division of all classes and types of pensions and retirement accounts, including 401(K) plans, IRAs and company-sponsored pension plans along with preparation of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs).

How long does a divorce take to be final?

In our experience a divorce can take somewhere between 3 and 24 months, depending on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. This timeline is often influenced by the county in which the dissolution of marriage petition is filed and the judge. The average uncontested divorce in our experience takes 3 to 4 months. The average contested divorce in our experience takes 12 to 14 months.

How much will my divorce cost?

The cost of divorce can range from around $1,000 for an uncontested divorce up to and over $15,000 for a contested divorce.

Do grandparents have rights?

Grandparents do have rights if the parents are unable to be located, dead or in a persistent vegetative state. If only one parent is around and is not a violent felon grandparents have no rights.

Will an adulterous affair have an impact on my divorce?

Florida is a no-fault divorce state and adultery does not impact most divorce matters. If the spouse having the affair spends marital funds or uses marital assets during the affair that may impact the court’s overall decision including alimony and custody matters.

What are marital assets?

Marital property is anything acquired, all assets and debts and property, during the marriage. It does not matter whose name the asset is titled in. There are many unique rules that govern inheritances, gifts, retirement accounts and family businesses.

What are non-marital assets?

Non-marital assets (sometimes called separate property) is property that is not included in the marital estate. Non-marital property includes: (1) assets acquired prior to the marriage, (2) property acquired by noninterspousal gift or inheritance, (3) income derived from non-marital assets, (4) assets and property excluded by agreement.

How  does a divorce affect commingling of property?

Combining non-marital assets with marital assets may subject what was considered to be a non-marital asset into a marital asset, and subject to equitable distribution. For example, if a spouse who maintained a separate bank account before the marriage, titled solely in his or her name, adds his or her spouse to the account and allows the spouse access to the account. Or if the spouse who uses the funds contained in the separate bank account to pay marital debts and expenses.

What is equitable distribution?

The division of marital assets and liabilities is called equitable distribution. The principle is that there will be an equal distribution of the assets and liabilities unless there are factors that should result in unequal distribution. Factors that may be considered include the length of the marriage, the dissipation of assets during the marriage and the career and economic situations of both spouses.

Experienced Florida Divorce and Alimony Lawyers

The Florida divorce/family law attorneys at HD Law Partners provide knowledgeable, compassionate, experienced, and dedicated legal representation. Contact us today for a free consultation and learn how we can help you through the divorce process.

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