Is there a way to avoid litigation in divorce?
Yes. Collaborative divorce is one alternative which allows couples to reach an agreement without going to court. In a collaborative approach, parties and their family divorce attorneys agree to settle matters involving division of assets and debt, alimony, child support, child custody, visitation rights, and other matters through negotiation, mediation, compromise and/or agreement, instead of through litigation. Collaborative divorce offers a mutually respectful, open-minded process that focuses on joint problem solving.
Who gets alimony and why?
Currently, there are no exact guidelines for alimony in Florida law, but the law does list factors a judge must consider. These include:
- The lifestyle the couple had prior to the divorce.
- The length of the marriage.
- The ability of one spouse to pay money and the need of the other spouse.
- The amount of property to be divided.
- Men versus women. There is no legal preference if you are a man or woman- either spouse can seek alimony. Courts are supposed to make decisions without regard to gender. However, women still receive some preference for alimony.
How much child support will I receive?
Child support is based on a formula, published in the Florida statutes. While the courts have some discretion, child support is largely a predictable number that can be calculated by either party. The final number is based on the net monthly income of both spouses and how many overnights the child(ren) will spend with each parent.
How long will it take to get a divorce?
The largest factor impacting the time a divorce takes is whether it is uncontested or contested.
- An uncontested divorce means that both parties agree on absolutely everything such as child support, timesharing with minor children, division of property and debts and alimony, if any. An uncontested divorce can take as little as four to five weeks if all of the necessary paperwork is completed.
- If the matter is contested (there are one or more issues which the Court has to decide, such as child support or alimony, etc.), the case can take about 6-12 months or more to be resolved. In the Florida counties where the Courts are extremely busy, it can take a year or more. This is one of the reasons couples consider mediation, collaborative divorce and other non-adversarial ways to resolve their case.
What if my spouse is committing adultery?
Adultery is mentioned in the Florida divorce law statutes, because Florida is a no-fault state, adultery as an issue is not a major legal issue in many cases where one spouse has been discovered as being unfaithful. For adultery to become a relevant financial issue, you must be prepared to illustrate that the adultery caused a wrongful financial loss to the marriage. Many times adultery results in marital funds spent on a third party. If this is the case, you should be prepared to show evidence of it in court.
For more than 25 years, Charles D. Jamieson, a Board Certified Family and Marital Law Attorney, has assisted clients in protecting their families and assets during the chaos and upheaval in their divorces. To schedule a consultation or learn more about his firm, visit his website at: https://cjamiesonlaw.com.