In Florida, the only grounds needed for a divorce is that the marriage must be irretrievably broken. A divorce is a package deal, closing up all issues during the same proceeding. This means you will get the divorce, your assets will be split, alimony will be determined, and, if applicable, your child custody and child support will be ordered.
Every divorce looks different depending on your current situation. Some of the topics that may be relevant in your divorce are:
If there are children under the age of 18, common to both parties, child custody and child support will be ordered. If at all possible, it is best to agree to child custody and a parenting plan outside of court. When the parents agree, it is usually the best plan for the children. If the parents do not agree, the judge will use the best interest of the children guidelines to make a determination.
Child Support is a more standardized process. There is a child support guidelines worksheet that the court will use to determine the child support amount. This worksheet looks into the income, assets, and liabilities of each party and offsets the amounts depending on the number of days the children spend with each parent each year. Typically, along with your child support order will come an income deduction order that will be sent to the paying parent’s employer. This process helps ensure the child support is being paid as ordered.
Division of Assets
In Florida, there is an equitable distribution standard requiring marital assets and marital debts to be distributed in a fair and equitable manner. Note, equitable does not mean equal.
Some of the factors the court will consider when making determinations for property division are:
- Each partners contributions and sacrifices towards the marriage, such as education, home-caring, child care, etc.
- Each partners economic circumstances
- The desire to retain an asset such as business intact, and free from any claim by the other partner
- The contributions from each partner towards the marital and non-marital assets
- The desire to retain the home for the sake of a dependent child
- Any intentional acts of dissipation, waste, or destruction of marital assets after filing a petition, or within two years prior to filing
- Any and all other factors considered necessary to do equity and justice for both partners
Ultimately, property division is based upon all facts of the case and both spouses’ contributions to the marriage. See Fl. Stat. § 61.075 (2020).
The rule surrounding alimony asks: Is there a need for alimony and is there an ability to pay alimony? If there is a need and the other party is able to pay, there will likely be an award for alimony. Your alimony amount will depend on the length of your marriage and the depth of the need. In Florida, there are a few types of alimony, explained in greater detail on my Alimony page. Briefly, the four types of alimony are pendente lite, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, and permanent.
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