Filing for Divorce In The State Of Florida
Filing for divorce can be a long legal matter that involves lawyers or mediators often fighting in the courts for your benefits. However, divorces in Florida has its own benefits. Florida divorce law offers a process called a ‘Simplified Dissolution of Marriage.’ It takes around 30 days to finalize divorce, as long as both parties satisfy certain conditions.
“In Florida, there is no fault, so one does not have to prove who did something wrong to get the divorce….” – explains Iris M Bass, a divorce attorney in Tamarac, Florida.
Lauren Adkins, Litigation Manager in Cordell & Cordell’s Jacksonville office, emphasizes that “In order for the court to have subject-matter jurisdiction to enter dissolution of marriage, one of the parties must reside in the state of Florida for six months before the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage and must have the intent to remain a resident of Florida at the time of filing. There is no residency requirement for a separate maintenance action (Petition for Support Unconnected with Dissolution).”
What are the grounds for divorce in Florida?
Dissolution of marriage will NOT be granted unless one of the following conditions is met:
- The marriage is irretrievably broken
- Mental incapacity of one of the parties
Iris M Bass pointed out that mental incompetence is “not simply saying the other spouse is crazy but having been determined to be mentally ill. By far, the first is the one used almost all the time.”
Based on this evidence presented at a hearing, the court will decide whether to place a petition for dissolution of marriage or not. In case one of the parties denies that the marriage is irretrievably broken OR if there are minor children, the court may order either or both parties to attend counseling. In some cases, court may extend the proceeding for not more than 3 months, to give the parties time for reconciliation.
How Can I Get Alimony In Florida?
Abigail Beebe, principal owner of The Law Office of Abigail Beebe, P.A., a West Palm Beach-based marital and family law firm, examined the factors the court will consider when deciding to award alimony “which enumerated in Florida Statute 61.08.”:
1. The standard of living established during the marriage;
a. i.e. life style and way of living
2. the duration of the marriage
a. i.e. length of the marriage from the date of the parties marriage through the date of filing a petition for dissolution of marriage;
3. the age and psychical and emotional condition of each party;
a. medical, mental and physical abilities and health
4. the financial resources of each party, including marital and non marital assets distributed to each;
a. therefore, alimony is determined after equitable distribution
5. the earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and whether or not it is necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find employment that is appropriate
a. earning abilities current or future, degrees, licenses, etc.
b. rehabilitative plan and form of alimony
6. contribution of each party to the marriage, including, homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party;
a. giving up career to raise children or promote the others career
b. moving all over for others career
7. the responsibilities each party will have in relation to any children they have in common;
a. cont. to stay home; pick up from school, homework, after school activities
8. the tax treatment and consequences to both parties for any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as nontaxable, non deductible payment.
a. Will it be taxable to the recipient and deductible to the payor as income or not.
9. All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.
a. Imputed income on money received in equitable distribution or non-marital sources that can earn money as a rate of return. i.e. 3%
10. Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
a. A catch all for the court.
Different Types Of Alimony In Florida
Lauren Adkins, tell us in her email, that “the different types of alimony include permanent, rehabilitative, bridge-the-gap, lump sum, nominal, and, beginning July 1, 2010, durational. Permanent alimony is presumed in long-term marriages and there is a presumption against permanent alimony in short-term marriages. Definitions
for long-term and short-term currently vary throughout jurisdictions; however, commencing July 1, 2010, a short-term marriage is defined as a marriage less than 7 years and a long-term marriage is defined as a marriage 17 years or more.”
Abigail Beebe shared with us detailed description of each type of alimony, so you could find something that fits your situation:
Temporary alimony– which is support awarded during the pending litigation or parties divorce action;
Bridge-the-gap alimony -awarded to assist a party by providing support to allow the party to make a transition from being married to being single. Used to assist with short-term needs, and the length of an award may not exceed 2 years. Terminable upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony and can not be modifiable in amount or duration.
Rehabilitative alimony -awarded to assist a party in helping a party to become self-supporting by:
1. The redevelopment of previous skills or credentials; or
2. acquiring education, training, or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials.
(b) In order to award rehabilitative alimony, there must be a specific and defined rehabilitative plan which shall be included as a part of any order awarding rehabilitative alimony.
(c) An award of rehabilitative alimony may be modified or terminated in accordance with s. 61.14 based upon a substantial change in circumstances, upon noncompliance with the rehabilitative plan, or upon completion of the rehabilitative plan.
Durational alimony may be awarded when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. The purpose of durational alimony is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration or following a marriage of long duration if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis. An award of durational alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. The amount of an award of durational alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances in accordance with s. 61.14. However, the length of an award of durational alimony may not be modified except under exceptional circumstances and may not exceed the length of the marriage.
Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage. Permanent alimony may be awarded following a marriage of long duration if such an award is appropriate upon consideration of the factors set forth in subsection (2), following a marriage of moderate duration if such an award is appropriate based upon clear and convincing evidence after consideration of the factors set forth in subsection (2), or following a marriage of short duration if there are written findings of exceptional circumstances. In awarding permanent alimony, the court shall include a finding that no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable under the circumstances of the parties. An award of permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. An award may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon the existence of a supportive relationship in accordance with s. 61.14.
More details can be found on Florida Legislature’s website.
How To File For Divorce In Florida: Practical Steps
Abigail Beebe explained the procedure one may take in order to divorce in Florida: “a party seeking to begin a dissolution in Florida must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage; the party receiving service of process of that pleading then has to respond to that within 20 days. That is called the answer. After that, various financial documents are typically exchanged, mediation occurs and if a settlement is reached on all issues, the parties may proceed to a final hearing which is where an Order or Final Judgement is entered by the Judge dissolving the marriage. If the Wife is restoring her maiden name she must attend that hearing, other wise either party may attend the hearing and submit testimony to the court to accept the agreement and dissolve the marriage. If no agreement is reached the parties may go to trial to ask the court to decide those items that must be decided including, parenting issues, equitable distribution, alimony, child support and all other remaining issues. The judge in that case, then enters a final judgement to dissolve the marriage.”
About the Experts:
Lauren N. Adkins feels that letting clients know where they stand with regards to their cases and informing them of the strengths and weaknesses of their cases from the start provides them with the clearest vision of what they can and should expect as their cases progress.
Official Website: http://cordellcordell.com/attorneys/lauren-n-adkins/
Attorney Abigail Beebe is principal owner of The Law Office of Abigail Beebe, P.A., a West Palm Beach-based marital and family law firm. Beebe and her staff focus on protecting the client, his or her assets as well as their emotional wellbeing during the trying and often-stressful time associated with divorce.
Official Website: www.abeebelaw.com/about/
Bass Law Firm P.A., is the family law firm headed by Iris M. Bass, a former teacher, whose sensitivity to her client’s needs is paramount.
Ms. Bass relocated to South Florida and shortly thereafter became a student herself at Nova Center For the Study of Law in Ft. Lauderdale.During her time there she became aware of a method to resolve disputes other than litigation; mediation was an attractive alternative to the traditional courtroom model.
In the late 1990’s Iris became aware of another alternative to litigation, the Collaborative Process. Both mediation and the collaborative process are a significant portion of Bass Law Firm, P.A.’s practice.
Official Website: http://www.irismbassattorney.com/about-the-firm/