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Basics of Divorce: Things to Know

Going through the process of divorce is never an easy task, both emotionally and logistically. This procedure is even more difficult if couples are not aware of their legal rights. We have put together some of the basics of the divorce process concerning Florida Law.

  • If a couple intends to get divorced in Florida, they must meet a residency requirement. This means at least one of the spouses must have lived in Florida for the six months immediately prior to filing for divorce. The Florida courts have no jurisdiction to grant a divorce unless the requirement is met. It is not valid to file for divorce and wait six months; you must be living in Florida six months before you file.
  • You do not have to give a reason for getting a divorce other than to state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Florida is a no-fault divorce state. You do not need to allege any specific wrongdoing in order to get a divorce.
  • A divorce procedure where spouses have already resolved issues such as asset division, child custody, and financial support can be completed in as little as 20 days from the date the petition for divorce is filed.
  • In Florida, the division of assets is governed by the law of “equitable distribution.” This means that marital assets are presumed to be split equally unless there is a reason proved why a different division should be made. Assets (including appreciation in value) that were obtained prior to the marriage or independently of the marriage are preserved for the party to whom the assets are titled and may be exempt from equitable distribution.
  • The issues of child custody and timesharing are resolved based primarily on the best interest of the child. A child custody lawyer can assist the couples to come to an arrangement with minimal conflict.
  • Child support is determined based upon a formula set forth in the Florida Statutes that considers the incomes of each party, the taxes they pay, costs for health insurance and child care, and the timesharing schedule. The calculation of child support often is the easiest part of a divorce case.
  • There are different types and durations of alimony. Whether a spouse is entitled to any alimony at all, the type of alimony, the duration of alimony and the amount of alimony are not based upon any set formula and require careful analysis.

These are only a few things the couple should be aware of. A divorce procedure includes much more than this. Hiring an experienced divorce lawyer can help you to deal with the process.