Divorce (also called "dissolution of marriage") can be a stressful, emotional and sometimes complicated time.  Each case is different and can depend on many factors such as:
The length of the marriage;
If there are any minor children involved;
What assets the spouses have;
What debts the have;
Whether there was a prenuptial agreement;
Whether the spouses are on good terms and
can agree on the terms of ending the marriage,
and how many issues are contested and will
have to be decided by the court.

We understand that family matters can be emotional and complicated, and we want to do our best to help you through this difficult process.

We will be happy to sit down and discuss your situation and your options with you.  CALL FOR A FREE CONSULTATION!

Below are a few divorce basics which will provide you with some basic information:

How do I begin the process?
  If you have decided you wish to file for divorce, you will need to file a divorce petition with the court.  You must pay the required filing fee and have the petition served upon your spouse, who then must file an answer within a specified time. You will both be required to file financial information with the court.

Do I have to give a reason for wanting a divorce? Normally you only need to state that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

What if the reason for my marriage ending is my spouse's fault?  Florida is a no fault divorce state, meaning that the court will not assign blame or hold anyone responsible.

Do I have to hire a lawyer?  No.  You are not required to have a lawyer represent you.  However, because it can be a complicated process that involves specific laws and rules of procedure you may want to consider hiring an attorney.  

Can I get child support and alimony while the case is pending?  The judge has the authority to order such things as temporary child support, alimony, possession of the home, and child custody schedules until the case is finalized.

Are my court records public?  Yes, court records are public.  Under very limited circumstances, the judge may order certain parts of the filed sealed (kept away from public view).

What if I just moved to Florida?  There is a minimum 6-month residency requirement to file for a divorce in Florida.  Either you or your spouse must have been living in Florida for a least 6 months immediately prior to the divorce.  

My spouse makes a lot more money than me.  Can he/she be forced to pay for my attorney?  In some circumstances, the court can order one spouse to pay some or all of the other spouse's attorneys fee.  This is based on an evaluation on the need of the spouse asking for it, and the ability of the other spouse to pay.

Can I get alimony?  Possibly.  The court can order temporary or permanent alimony, and will consider the standard of living, the ability of the other spouse to pay, and other factors.

How will the court decide to divide property and assets? Assuming the parties cannot agree, the court will generally divide assets first into marital and non-marital.  For marital asset (normally assets acquired during the marriage), the court must begin with the premise of equal distribution, unless there is a justification for unequal distribution of assets.

What if I and my spouse agree on getting divorced?  If a divorce is uncontested, that certainly makes things easier.  An uncontested divorce can be wrapped up quickly and easily as long as no complications arise.

If our divorce is uncontested, can we have the same lawyer?  No.  An attorney cannot represent both parties.  You may want to have only one lawyer who represents one of the spouses.  The other spouse must be aware that he or she is not being represented by that attorney and they can at any time seek legal advice to represent their own interests.

What about child support and child custody? The 2 most difficult issues in a divorce are usually child support and child custody (legally called "time sharing").  In considering child custody, the court will evaluate many factors in determining the best interest of the child. Child support will be calculated according to a formula that considers the parents' incomes, the child's health care and child care costs, and the standard needs for the child.  To later change the child custody or child support, the parent seeking the change must show that there had been a substantial change in circumstances and that the change is in the best interest of the child.

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