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Florida Divorce Frequently Asked Questions

Navigating the complexities of divorce can be overwhelming, but having a knowledgeable attorney on your side can make all the difference. Attorney Hamilton is here to help you through this difficult time by answering some frequently asked questions about divorce in Florida.

  • What are the Residency Requirements for Divorce in Florida?

Like most states, Florida has a residency requirement for a couple to be able to file for divorce in a Florida court’s jurisdiction. At least one of the spouses must be a state resident for six months or more before the couple can file for divorce in Florida.

  • Is There a Waiting Period for Divorce in Florida?

Yes, there is a 20-day waiting period between when the divorce petition is filed and when the judge can finalize the divorce decree. The purpose of the waiting period is to allow the couple time to cool down and ensure a divorce is what they want. Of course, divorces often take much longer than 20 days, but that is the minimum time a divorce can take.

  • Can I Receive Alimony in Florida, or will I Have to Provide Spousal Support to My Ex?

Florida's divorce law considers numerous factors when determining spousal support, such as entitlement, type of support, and the amount awarded. It's essential to consult an experienced family lawyer to discuss your specific circumstances regarding spousal support.

  • What are the Grounds for Divorce in Florida?

Florida recognizes two grounds for divorce, known as "dissolution of marriage": irreconcilable differences and mental incapacity of the other party. In cases of mental incapacity, the affected party must have been adjudicated incapacitated for at least three years before filing for dissolution of marriage.

  • How is Child Support Calculated in Florida?

Child support in Florida follows state guidelines, but the court ultimately decides the amount on a case-by-case basis. Factors considered include the monthly net income of both parents, the number of children, parenting time, insurance costs, and the child(ren)'s standard needs. Child support orders are often designed to change if a parent's income changes.

  • How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in Florida?

The length of a divorce in Florida depends on the type of divorce and the couple's agreement on terms. A simplified divorce requires a 20-day waiting period after signing a petition, while an uncontested divorce can take four to five weeks or even a few months. Contested divorces, where couples disagree on issues, can take anywhere from four months to over a year.

  • What is Equitable Distribution?

Equitable distribution refers to the fair division of marital assets and liabilities during a divorce. While "equitable" generally means "equal," there are instances when one party may receive a larger share if deemed fair. This process results in each party having a post-divorce estate of similar value, rather than joint ownership of assets.

  • How Should I Prepare for My Divorce?

To prepare for a Florida divorce, gather documentation about your assets, liabilities, and income. This includes bank statements, tax returns, retirement accounts, real estate documents, and any other relevant financial information. It's also important to create a list of marital assets and debts and any separate property acquired before the marriage or through inheritance. Next, consider hiring an experienced divorce attorney to protect your rights and interests. An attorney can help you navigate the complexities of Florida divorce law and ensure a more favorable outcome.

  • When Should I Consult With a Divorce Attorney?

It's especially important to consult with a divorce attorney if your situation involves children, real estate, a significant disparity in income, substantial assets, disability or health issues, considerable debt, or a marriage that lasted more than a few years. In these cases, the guidance of a skilled attorney can be invaluable in protecting your rights and assets.

  • Can I File for Divorce in Florida If I Recently Moved Out of State?

Yes, you can still file for divorce in Florida even if you recently left the state, provided that certain residency requirements are met. If one spouse has been a resident of Florida for at least six months prior to filing the petition and maintains their legal residence in the state, they can proceed with the divorce process in the appropriate county court. However, it is important to note that jurisdictional issues may arise depending on the specifics of your situation. It is advisable to consult with an attorney experienced in Florida family law to ensure all necessary steps are properly followed, and your interests are protected throughout the process.

  • How Does Florida Handle Custody and Parenting Plans During a Divorce?

In Florida, child custody is referred to as "time-sharing," and it's determined based on the best interests of the child(ren). The court considers factors such as each parent's ability to care for the child, the child's preferences (if they are of suitable age), and the stability of each parent's home environment. During a divorce, parents are encouraged to create a parenting plan that outlines how they will share time and responsibilities with their child(ren). This plan should include details about education, healthcare, extracurricular activities, and visitation schedules. If the parents cannot agree on a plan, the court will create one for them, keeping the child(ren)'s best interests in mind.

Divorce Answers Available at The Law Office of Paulette Hamilton, P.A.

Divorce is a challenging and emotional process, but understanding Florida's divorce law and having a knowledgeable attorney on your side can make the journey smoother. If you're facing a divorce, contact Attorney Hamilton for compassionate, experienced legal counsel to guide you through this difficult time. Call today at (407) 624-5344 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation.

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