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What You Need to Know About Divorce in Florida


Are you considering getting a divorce in the state of Florida? Here are some of the basics you need to know first. Florida is a no fault state when it comes to divorce, which means parties need only show that their marriage is irretrievably broken. The state does not recognize common law marriage nor legal separation. Like many other states, a divorce is referred to as a dissolution of marriage. Uncontested divorces can be a relatively simple process, but if you are struggling to agree on important points like asset division or alimony, retaining a skilled Boca Raton family law attorney can help you streamline the process.

Residency Requirements

In order to file for a divorce in Florida, you must first meet the residency requirements. One of you must be a resident of Florida for six months prior to filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The county where you file can be either where one or both spouses reside.

Asset Distribution

Florida is not a community property state. It follows the theory of equitable distribution, which means assets are not divided 50/50. The court will make a decision on what is equitable and fair. That may result in one spouse having no interest in a marital asset or vice versa. But, the theory is at the end of the process both parties received a fair portion of the assets.

Spousal Support / Alimony

Any support payments that are agreed to can affect the asset distribution so it’s important to factor that into the initial discussions. If you’re unable to reach an agreement, the court will look at spousal support on a case-by-case basis. Payments may be issued on a permanent or temporary basis. It may be multiple payments, a lump sum payment, or a combination of both.

Child Custody

If there are children involved, you must have a Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Affidavit on file. The court determines custody based on the best interest of the child/children while taking into account guidelines set forth in the Act. The court will ensure each minor child continues to have frequent contact with both parents. It’s best if you can make a decision on custody rather than let the court decide. 

Child Support Guidelines

Florida calculates child support based on the Income Shares Model, which is calculated by estimating what the child would’ve received in support had the parents remained together. A household that is intact would pool the income of both parents and determine what would have been spent for the “benefit of all household members,” which includes the children. It looks at the statutory table on what is expected, then you add other expenses, like child care. It’s prorated, and that is the amount of child support that is typically owed. The Income Shares Model is the model that the majority of the U.S. uses in calculating child support payments.

Retaining a Florida Divorce Attorney

If you’re considering a divorce in Florida, retaining a Boca Raton divorce attorney can help protect both your interests and your assets. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White are skilled in all types of dissolution of marriage cases. Please contact our office today to schedule a confidential consultation.

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