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Divorce Attorney in Sarasota
Are you planning to file for a divorce in Sarasota, or are you already in the process and would like to get a second opinion about how the process is going from a different attorney? Regardless of where you are in the overall procedure, contact Richard Weissfeld today to schedule an appointment. Navigating a divorce can be a complicated, stressful, and time-consuming process, but when you are working with an attorney who gives you the confidence you need and the know-how to get you the outcome you deserve, you can reduce the stress and emotional impact that the case has on your overall life.
Read more below about some general information, as well as some of the major points that will need to be decided upon in order to finalize a divorce in Florida, and a few of the options that you can choose as a way to reach an agreement with your spouse or through a court ruling. Whether or not you see answers to your specific questions on this page, keep in mind that Attorney Richar Weissfeld understands that each divorce is unique, and ensures that each of his clients has an approach to the divorce that fits their unique and individual circumstances.
What Are the Requirements for a Florida Divorce?
There are a few basic requirements that must be met in order to file for any type of divorce in Florida. First, and most obviously, the couple must be married. In addition to this very important factor, at least one of the spouses must have lived in Florida for six months or more, and the marriage must be irreconcilable and broken beyond repair. While it is certainly easier to facilitate a divorce if both spouses agree that the marriage is beyond repair, it is not necessarily required.
To begin the process of divorce, one spouse must file a petition with the circuit court. The other spouse will then be served with divorce papers and have a certain amount of time to respond. From here, the spouses will need to determine if they are able to work together on the important issues that must be settled before the divorce is finalized.
What Must Be Agreed Upon In Order to Finalize a Divorce?
While each marriage is different depending on many different factors, including children from other relationships, prenuptial agreements, separate assets, businesses, and more, the state of Florida must see that there are certain issues that are agreed to in the marriage if they exist in the relationship. These major issues are the following:
Division of Debts and Assets
The state of Florida distinguishes between “marital” and “non-marital” assets and debts, and so the first step is to determine which type of asset or debt each is. Marital assets and debts are those acquired during the marriage, whereas a non-marital asset or debt is one that a spouse had acquired before the marriage, and kept separate throughout the marriage. In court, the assets will be divided equitably (meaning fairly, not necessarily 50/50), unless there are specific circumstances that call for an inequitable division such as a prenuptial agreement.
Division of Marital Property
In the case that a couple owns property and it is determined to be marital property (as opposed to non-marital), then the couple will have options to buy the other out, distribute properties equitably, or sell the property to divide the money from the sale after. If the couple is unable to reach an agreement about how the marital property will be divided on their own, then the court will make the determination for them. In most cases, it is not preferable for anyone in a divorce to have a judge make decisions regarding their high-worth assets.
Child Custody and Child Support
If there are children in the marriage under the age of 18 (and in some cases, older than 18), then the next thing, and one of the most important issues, it to resolve is a parenting plan that will include the amount of child support, how the payments will be made, and the visitation (time-sharing) schedule. Throughout the entire process of this decision, the courts will focus entirely on ensuring that the child’s welfare is the absolute top priority.
Custody may be distributed between both parents for legal custody, physical custody, or both, or one parent may be granted sole custody depending on the circumstances. If the situation that the courts decided the issues of custody and support on changes, then the impacted parent may be able to request that the case is reviewed.
Methods of Finalizing a Divorce
Ideally, a couple will be able to work together to some extent in order to reach agreements on all of the necessary issues to reach an agreement and finalize their divorce. There are a few different options for an uncontested divorce, which ultimately is less expensive, more supportive, and takes significantly less time. In addition, an uncontested divorce does not leave important decisions about children and assets up to the court or the state.
If a couple chooses to use a mediator prior to their divorce being filed, generally, they will not have their own attorneys. Instead, they will work with a disinterested third party who will work to help them reach agreements through negotiations. In order to have a successful mediation process, each spouse needs to be willing to compromise and work together through some uncomfortable decisions. If mediation takes place after a formal action for dissolution is filed, each party through their respective attorneys will mutually agree on a mediator and work diligently to resolve all matters.
In the case of a collaborative divorce, each spouse has their own attorney who represents through direct negotiations with the other spouse and their legal counsel. This is another cooperative option for finalizing a divorce, and although it can be more costly for each spouse since they are both paying for an attorney, it is generally a great option to ensure that each spouse has the legal support they need to reach a fair outcome.
A contested divorce is the last option, and generally least preferable, for a divorce. In this type of divorce, couples are unable to reach agreements on some, if not all, of their necessary details, and will leave these decisions up to the courts. This process is lengthy, stressful, and costly. In addition to the financial and time pressure that it puts on each spouse, they are ultimately leaving these important decisions up to a judge, which is not preferable for most people.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CHILD SUPPORT
Child support covers everything a child needs, and even more, during the developing years. A parent’s first and principal obligation is to support his or her minor children according to the parent’s circumstances and station in life. Children should share in the standard of living of both parents.
The amount of a child support award is more than a question of bare necessities. If the child has a wealthy parent, that child is entitled to and therefore needs something more than the bare necessities of life.
Health insurance costs, uninsured health-related expenses, daycare and life insurance are some of the many matters that need to be considered and addressed in a professional manner. Be sure justice is done for the needs of your child(ren).
If you or someone you know in Florida is involved in a separation, divorce, child custody matter, modification or similar family law issue and needs the representation of an experienced Sarasota Divorce Lawyer, call Attorney Richard Weissfeld today at 941-726-2101, or complete the contact form provided on this site to schedule your free consultation.