Basics of a Florida Divorce
When someone takes the final step and decides to file for divorce, he/she frequently wants to start the process as soon as possible so the transition to the next stage of life can begin. Wanting to get a running start on initiating the legalities of divorce is understandable given how painful and difficult this event is. However, divorce is a serious matter with substantial consequences, some of which are irreversible. Having a basic knowledge of the legal requirements for divorce, and the types of information individuals entering this procedure should gather will help move the process along.
There is nothing in the law that says a divorcing spouse must hire a divorce attorney to represent him/her, but without the proper training and background in the law, a person may inadvertently agree to an unfair settlement, or fail to raise a crucial issue to the court’s attention. An experienced divorce attorney will know what information is most important to achieving one’s goals, and can guide a person through a divorce case so that the best possible result is obtained. Walking into an attorney’s office armed with certain information will aid in streamlining the start of a divorce case. An overview of the general components of a divorce case will follow below.
Where to File
In Florida, jurisdiction to grant a divorce is established through residency. Specifically, one or both spouses must have lived in the state for at least six months to file for divorce in this state. If this time period has not passed, the case would have to be filed in the previous home state, or to wait until the six months has passed. A state driver’s license, state identification card, Florida voter ID, or the testimony or affidavits of a third party are all ways of proving residency.
Florida is a no-fault divorce state, which means it is not necessary to prove a spouse engaged in harmful or reprehensible behavior to justify the dissolution. All that is necessary is to state the marriage is irretrievably broken, and a court will grant the divorce if evidence of this situation is presented, though this fact is rarely contested.
One of the most important aspects of divorce is the division of property and money, which will determine the financial resources a party will have to draw from once the divorce is finalized. This issue can quickly and easily lead to disputes, but in order to make the process fair, and allow the court to better understand the full financial picture, both sides must file financial affidavits outlining all their assets and expenses. Preparing this information early on will save time, and allow each party to get a better understanding where he/she stands.
Child Custody/Time-sharing/Parental Responsibility
If minor children are shared by a couple, the issue of child custody/time-sharing and parental responsibility will have to be set out in a parenting plan. This document indicates who will have legal decision-making responsibility (it can be shared), and the amount of parenting time, set forth in a time-sharing schedule, each party will have with the child. Custody/Time-sharing issues do extend the timeline of obtaining the divorce by at least several months, as the court requires additional time to ensure the best interests of the child are being prioritized.
Child support and alimony (spousal support) are two other big issues that come up in divorce. Child support is automatically awarded, and each parent is expected to contribute to the child’s needs. The parent with the least amount of parenting time typically pays child support, which is based on the parent’s combined monthly income. Spousal support is not automatic and must be awarded by a court based on a number of factors, including need and the ability to pay.
Contact Donna Hung Law Group, Orlando Divorce Lawyers
Going through a divorce can be overwhelming, but an experienced divorce attorney can take some of the stress off your shoulders by taking charge of the legal case. The Donna Hung Law Group represents clients in the Orlando area through all stages of a divorce. Even if you and your spouse are in agreement, working with the Donna Hung Law Group can offer you the peace of mind that the terms of the divorce are fair and adequately protect your interests. Contact the office at (407) 999-0099 to schedule a confidential consultation.