Florida Divorce Laws: FAQ
Getting a divorce means that you will have to go to court, have the judge divide your property, assets and debt and also have him or her decide whether or not you have any type of custody of the children involved. There can be spousal support issues as well as child support. Knowing what the laws of Florida are can be a good beginning for you if you are thinking of getting a divorce.
What are Grounds for Divorce?
Getting a divorce in Florida means that you must get a no-fault divorce. This means that, no matter how much you may want to, or have evidence of fault, you cannot bring your spouse to task and make the divorce have an at-fault decision. There may well have been drug use, adultery or worse but the court is not interested in this for a simple divorce. The grounds are called irreconcilable differences that have caused a breakdown in the marriage.
One thing to remember is, you can ask the court to look at fault when you are pursuing a larger share of a property or asset division or if you are seeking alimony or spousal support. It may be confusing, however, this type of divorce proceeding is common and a professional can help you find the right answer.
You or your soon-to-be ex-spouse must have been a resident of Florida for six months or 180 days before you can even file for a divorce. You may be asked to prove this and if you and your spouse aren't on good terms, this may be hard to prove if you are banking on using the residency of your spouse as a means of filing. The court may assist in this, but it is essentially your responsibility to prove.
How Will Property be Divided?
Florida is considered an equitable property division state. In this type of situation, each person involved in the divorce has the right to keep one's income and own property. They each have to right to manage the assets and property they own as they see fit. In the case of a divorce, the fact that you own the property and it is in your name is not a deciding factor for the court. The judge will actually divide the property as he or she sees fit and sometimes, that doesn't always look or feel fair to you or your spouse. In other words, it may not be equal. The court will begin by assuming that the property and assets will be divided equally and then listen to testimony or read documentation that asks him or her to divide it differently.
How is Child Custody Determined?
Florida, like all the states, wants what is best for the child involved. Their well-being is paramount to the court and should be to you as well. This can be difficult but not insurmountable. The judge will want the child to have an ongoing relationship with both parents and will try to create an atmosphere that can benefit the child from both of you. The judge will, if at all possible, grant a joint custody arrangement for both parents. The court will look at all aspects of the relationship you and your child have such as the gender of the child, what your relationship is and how much time you have spent with the child in the past and may even ask the child what he or she wants. The input of you, your spouse and the child will all be a part of how the court decides to grant custody and what that will look like.
How Much Child Support Can Be Awarded?
One thing that binds child support to child custody is the amount of time you have spent with your child in the past. Do you have a strong relationship that is built on time spent together? If so, you may not be required to pay as much as you would have. Both parents have to support the child in the future and if the judge believes that you or your spouse are not earning as much as you could in another position, he or she will require you to get a better, higher paying job. If you are a stay-at-home parent, this could be a game changer.