The process of dissolving a marriage can seem overwhelming, complex and difficult whether the divorce is in Sarasota, Florida or elsewhere. When a person is faced with a decision of whether to file for divorce in Florida, or whether they are forced to respond to a petition for divorce that has already been filed against them, it is important that they find an attorney that can educate them on the process, work with them to prepare for what they will face, and fight for them when they are unable to defend themselves. At this difficult time, it is necessary that their attorney work to protect their future.
Florida is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that either party may seek a divorce without having to prove that either party was “at fault.” In order to obtain a divorce in Florida, the only requirement is that one of the spouses doesn’t want to be married anymore. The spouse seeking a divorce simply needs to state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken. In addition, since it is a no-fault state, the bad actions of one of the parties usually have no bearing on the case. For example, if one spouse has an affair, that will likely not affect the determination of property settlement or child visitation. It can, however, affect whether alimony will be awarded.
Marital versus Non-marital Assets
A divorce is necessary to resolve several issues that arise when two individuals no longer wish to act in one unified partnership. It is important that the parties are able to identify the marital and non-marital assets in their possession and to evenly divide those assets that are marital. Marital assets are assets, with a few exceptions, which have been obtained during the course of the marriage. Non-marital assets are usually assets that were possessed prior to the marriage or were obtained during the marriage via inheritance or other similar means. Additionally, liabilities can be deemed marital or non-marital as well. Coyne Law offers a free consultation and can explain what assets or liabilities are marital or non-marital.
Once the Marital Assets have been determined, it will be necessary to divide those assets between the parties. This portion of a divorce is commonly called Equitable Distribution. Florida courts are required to follow the Florida Statutes and to divide the assets and liabilities evenly. The courts must determine the date at which the parties separated, as well as the value of the assets and liabilities at that time. Additionally, there are exceptions for when the courts are permitted to divide assets and liabilities unequally.
Divorce in Florida with Children
A divorce in Florida with a child requires that the parties resolve several issues that are associated with raising a child. The court will need to determine what parenting plan is in the child’s best interests and to develop a time-sharing schedule, determine how decisions regarding the child’s education, medical care, and religious teachings will be made, as well as address child support.
Child Support is usually one of the most contentious issues associated with the divorce process. Whether it is true or not, it is often the perception of one, or both, of the parties to a divorce that child support is being sought out of revenge or to have control over the party that is ultimately required to pay. The amount of child support that will be paid for the support of a child is dependent upon what the Florida Legislature has determined is that child’s “need.” The child’s need is based on the income of the parties. Child support is then calculated based upon the proportion of income that each of the parties provides and the proportion of the time-sharing the parties have with the child(ren).
The last issue that needs to be resolved through the divorce process is determining whether alimony is appropriate and how much should be paid in alimony. Florida Statute §61.08 states as follows: “In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the court may grant alimony to either party, which alimony may be bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, or permanent in nature or any combination of these forms of alimony. In any award of alimony, the court may order periodic payments or payments in lump sum or both. The court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded.” Coyne Law offers a free consultation and can explain the likelihood that alimony will be awarded in your case.
Unfortunately, in some cases, it may be necessary to protect against domestic violence. A protective order or injunction may be necessary to protect individuals who live in fear of another individual due to that person’s history of abuse or behavior that could be considered stalking. This is regrettably a reality that arises when individuals are emotionally stressed due to separation and/or divorce. Even more unfortunate is when a party tries to use the legal system as a weapon and makes false allegations against another with the hope of obtaining an injunction. In either situation, it is necessary that a party makes an effort to protect themselves. Often individuals believe that they are able to adequately represent themselves in what they believe are minor proceedings. These individuals end up not obtaining the injunction that they so desperately need, or they have a lifetime injunction entered against them that limits their ability to obtain employment in the future and own a firearm of any kind. Attorney Whitney Coyne spent two years of his early career focused solely on prosecuting acts of domestic violence, including domestic battery and domestic violence injunctions. Few attorneys are as familiar with the Florida Statutes relating to domestic violence and injunctions.
Whether the issues are child custody, property settlement, or alimony, the right attorneys can make sure the process is fair, help you reach a just conclusion, and allow you to move forward with your life. Attorney Whitney Coyne can explain the process of a divorce in Florida and the related laws to you during a free consultation. Mr. Coyne will assist you in planning for your future and preparing you for the requirements that come with a divorce.