Dissolution of Marriage
Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to the dissolution of a marriage (divorce). This means that neither party in the relationship has to prove any wrongdoing on the other person’s part. Issues such as adultery and misconduct are rarely relevant unless they have bearing on ability to work and wasting of marital assets. All that needs to be proven is that ‘the marriage is irretrievably broken’. If one party to the relationship swears that the marriage is broken, the marriage will be dissolved and only the financial issues of support (alimony, child support), custody, visitation and distribution of property remain to be resolved by the parties or by the Courts.
Florida has a residency requirement; at least one party in the marriage must have resided within the state of Florida for at least the 6 months prior to the filing of a petition requesting dissolution of the marriage.
Since Florida is an “equitable distribution” state, the marital property must be divided in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what is fair. The court will encourage the parties to reach a settlement on property and debt issues otherwise the court will divide property and award support in a way the Judge thinks fair. Spousal support issues are discussed in greater detail in another article entitled Alimony and Support.
When minor children are involved in the divorce, if the parents cannot come to an agreement regarding the issues involving the children, the court will enter the custody order at its discretion. These issues are discussed in greater detail in the article entitled Child Support and Time-Sharing.
Domestic Violence is also treated in detail in a separate article.
Before filing for divorce or if you have been served with a divorce petition, it is essential that you get proper legal advice. Sometimes, the law is not determined by common sense; it is usually not wise to be one’s own lawyer unless there are no money issues.
Often, attorneys’ fees, suit money, and costs are awarded to the party in an inferior financial position in order to enable them to retain counsel and to pay expenses related to the action for dissolution of marriage.
For a free consultation on all of these issues, contact Hoffman, Larin and Agnetti, PA at (305) 653-5555. Our attorneys have handled more than a thousand family law cases since 1975. We have offices in Dade, Broward and Monroe Counties.