Divorce Attorney Fort Myers

Also known as a dissolution of marriage under Florida Statutes:

Grounds

Unlike other states, Florida is a “No Fault” divorce state. Usually, in the original action for dissolution of marriage, the parties will allege the marriage is irretrievably broken. In layman’s terms this means that the marriage of the parties is not maintainable and the parties no longer want to live as Husband and Wife. The parties want the marriage dissolved and they want to continue life as a single entity.

Residency Requirement

Before filing for a dissolution of the marriage, one of the spouses must have lived in Florida for six (6) months prior to filing the petition for dissolution of marriage.

Military Status

The party filing the divorce action swears that both parties are over the age of eighteen (18) and that neither party is, nor has been within a 30 day time period prior to filing this divorce action a member of the military service of the United States. If your spouse is a member of the military, contact our office and we will gladly discuss the nuisances associated being military personnel.

Uncontested Divorce

Usually known as the simple divorce, this is where the parties agree to all issues, conditions and terms of the divorce. The parties resolve their case by a settlement agreement and usually the divorce action will be expedited to final judgment. After the entry of the final judgment the parties will be completely divorced and the marriage permanently dissolved. However, if any of the parties cannot agree to all terms in the divorce action then the parties will have to proceed to a Contested Divorce.

Contested Divorce

When the parties disagree over certain issues such as alimony, child custody, child support, equitable distribution, attorney’s fees and etc. Before proceeding to a trial on a contested divorce the parties will be required to attend mediation with a neutral mediator and attempt to resolve the divorce action amicably and without the need, stress and expenses of a trial.

Child Custody

There are two separate and distinct forms of Child Custody in Florida. The first for is called Parental Responsibility. Personal Responsibility means decision making for the minor child’s four primary issues:

  • Health
  • Religion
  • Education
  • General Welfare

In Florida, the Courts generally presume that Parental Responsibility should be shared equally by the parties. Basically the Father and Mother should discuss amongst themselves the issues effecting the minor child and resolve the issue in the best interest of the child. However, in some instances where Shared Parental Responsibility would be detrimental to the child, the Court can award one parent Sole Parental Responsibility. This basically means that one parent will unilaterally make the ultimate decision for the child.

The other form of custody ore commonly known by parties is physical custody of the minor child also known as time-sharing with the minor child. This refers to how much time each party spends with the minor child. There are many different and detailed schedules included in a time sharing schedule. One common schedule is where one spouse may have the minor child during the work week where the other spouse spends time with the minor child every other weekend. Another common schedule could be rotating time sharing with the minor child where the parties have over nights with the minor equally by week or every couple of days. Additionally, the parties or the Court can ultimately decide the best time sharing schedule for the minor child.

Under Florida law, the commanding factor when deciding custody is what is in the best interest of the minor child. There are many factors for the Court to consider when deciding custody. Please call our office for a free consultation to discuss this issue in greater detail.

Child Support

Child Support is determined by the incomes of the parties under the Florida Child Support Guidelines. There are many factors to consider when the Court determines child support such as the number of overnights each parent has, day care expense, insurance and etc. After calculating all for these factor, the child Support Guidelines will determine how much financial support each party owns on a monthly basis. Even after child support is determined by the guidelines there may be reasons by the Court within which the Court will deviate from the Florida Child Support Guidelines. Please call our office for a free consultation to discuss this issue in greater detail.

Equitable Distribution

Equitable Distribution refers to the Assets and Debts acquired by the parties during the marriage. Most assets and debts obtained during a marriage will be “marital” and will need to be divided. During a divorce proceeding, the Curt will divide these assets and debts equitably to each party. Under Florida Law, the Court will presume to split these assets and debts equally between the parties unless there is a reason that the court should depart. Property obtained prior to the marriage, in most cases, will be considered non-marital assets and will not be subject to division between the parties. However, there are times when non-marital assets become marital based on the actions of the individuals. Please call our office for a free consultation to discuss this issue in greater detail.

Alimony

Under Florida law, there are numerous kinds of alimony consisting of Permanent, Rehabilitative, Temporary and Lump-Sum.

Permanent Alimony is where one spouse will be ordered to pay the other spouse for the duration of his/her life. There are many factors under Florida law to be considered when a Judge grants this form of alimony. The greatest factor for Permanent Alimony is the duration of the marriage and the standard of living during the marriage.

Rehabilitative alimony is generally awarded to allow a spouse to become self sufficient, usually through some college courses, vo-tech training or other rehabilitative training. To be awarded rehabilitative alimony, the party claiming it must prove

  • The spouse needs it
  • The other spouse can afford to pay it
  • You have a plan for it

The plan should be in writing and should be specific.

Lump sum alimony is where one party pays the other party a one time monetary payment towards alimony.

Temporary Alimony is usually granted during the pendency of the divorce proceeding and the parties are transitioning from married life to single life.

Remember the overall factors when determining alimony are

  • The party requesting alimony needs it
  • the other spouse has the ability to pay it

Name Change

When filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, the wife can either keep her married name or change her name back to her maiden name one time for free at the conclusion of the divorce proceeding. If the spouse wants to change her name after the dissolution of marriage is finalized, she will have to pay a separate filing fee to do so.

Attorney’s Fees

Either party may have a claim for attorney’s fees if that party doesn’t have the ability to pay but their respective spouse does. In the alternative, if one of the spouses initiate frivolous litigation in a divorce proceeding.