What's an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce is one where the spouses agree on the major issues in their case – such as alimony, division of property, and timesharing in cases involving young children. In contested cases, the parties either cannot or have not yet been able to resolve the major issues. There could be any number of reasons for this. But, if the parties are unable to agree, a judge will make the final decisions.
Why does it matter?
Uncontested divorces offer several real advantages over contested divorces. For one thing, they tend to cost a lot less. And they are almost always faster. Our office can usually complete your case in as little as ten days.
Do I need a lawyer?
Even when parties agree on everything, Florida divorce law is complicated. Ultimately, whether you hire an attorney for your uncontested divorce is entirely up to you. That said, we do not recommend proceeding, even uncontested, without an experienced divorce attorney by your side.
Can we use the same lawyer?
Generally speaking, a divorce attorney can only ethically represent one spouse or the other in a divorce case.
How long does a divorce take?
Every case is unique and the amount of time it takes to complete a divorce depends on how many issues need to be resolved along the way. That said, we are able to finalize most uncontested divorce cases in as little as 30 days.
Can I get divorced in Florida?
There are only two requirements for a divorce in Florida. At least one spouse must be a Florida resident for a minimum of six months, and the marriage must be irretrievably broken.
What's a dissolution?
A dissolution of marriage is a divorce. Dissolution is the official terminology in Florida. But, it means the same thing as a divorce. The two terms can be used interchangeably, and they very often are.
What if my spouse won't agree?
You do not actually need your spouse to agree to a divorce in Florida. That said, a husband or wife who does not agree with the divorce, or who refuses to cooperate in the process, can be difficult and can complicate the process unnecessarily.
What is alimony?
Alimony in Florida, also known as spousal support, can be defined as money paid by one spouse to the other spouse either during the divorce process (called temporary alimony) or for some structured time period after the divorce is finalized.
How does alimony work?
Alimony is primarily based on two factors: the financial need of the party requesting support and the other party's ability to pay.
Is alimony permanent?
The length of an alimony award depends in large part on the circumstances of each particular case. This is because there are several different types of alimony in Florida, and the duration of an award is almost always within the sole discretion of the judge.
Can alimony change?
The extent to which alimony can be modified depends largely on the type of alimony in question. Among other things, a party seeking to modify alimony generally has to prove that there has been a permanent substantial change in the financial circumstances of one or both parties since the existing alimony award was entered.
How is child support calculated?
Generally speaking, courts calculate a total child support obligation based on the parents’ combined monthly income and the number of children involved. Then the court assigns each parent a percentage of the total child support obligation in proportion to that parent’s percentage of the combined monthly income.
What if child support isn't paid?
If someone has been ordered to pay child support, and that person does not pay despite having the ability to do so, the court could find him or her in contempt. If someone is found to be in contempt of court, he or she could be ordered to pay not only back child support, but also hefty fines and attorney’s fees. He or she could also be ordered to jail.
What if I can't pay?
Child support orders in Florida are modifiable when there is a substantial change in the financial circumstances of one or both of the parties. If your income has gone down permanently since the child support order was originally entered, you can ask the court to recalculate the amount that you owe.
Can I refuse child support?
Under Florida law, child support belongs to the child, not the parents. Therefore, the parents cannot agree to waive the obligation to pay child support. Whenever a case involves minor children, the court is required by law to enter a child support order.
What is a Parenting Plan?
A Parenting Plan is a written document that governs both the parent-child and parent-to-parent relationships in cases involving child custody. You can think of it as a blueprint for a successful timesharing and co-parenting relationship.
How do I get sole custody?
There is no such thing as sole custody in Florida anymore. But, many of the same goals can be accomplished through the similar concept of sole parental responsibility if you can prove, among other things, that the other parent is unfit or that it is impossible for you to co-parent effectively.
What is a timesharing schedule?
A timesharing schedule is a written plan that outlines the specific days that each parent is entitled to spend time with his or her children or child.
Can a parent deny timesharing?
The short answer is no. One parent does not have the authority to withhold court-ordered timesharing from the other parent. Some people mistakenly believe that timesharing can be denied to a parent who has failed to pay child support. This is not true. Florida statutes specifically make clear that the failure to pay child support is not a justification for the denial of timesharing rights.
How's property divided?
Generally speaking, any asset or liability acquired/created between the date of marriage and the date that the divorce papers are filed is subject to division by a court. There is a presumption in favor of equal distribution, but in certain special circumstances the court will award one spouse an unequal distribution based on his or her contributions to the asset or debt during the marriage.
What's premarital property?
Courts have no jurisdiction to divide assets or debts that existed prior to marriage. These are called premarital assets and debts. However, under certain circumstances, the court may have jurisdiction over the increase in the value of premarital property. And if the parties have acted in a way that converts premarital property into marital property, the court will then have the jurisdiction and the duty to divide that property equitably.
What about my retirement?
Retirement accounts can be tricky. But, for the most part, you should keep any retirement benefits that existed before marriage as well as any passive appreciation during the marriage. Any active contributions made to your accounts during marriage, are generally subject to division by the court.
Is my prenup valid?
Like any contract, a prenuptial agreement is completely valid and enforceable as long as certain conditions are satisfied. A prenuptial agreement has to be in writing and signed freely and voluntarily by both prospective spouses after full disclosure of their finances. If all of these conditions are met, Florida courts will almost always enforce a prenuptial agreement – even one that seems to benefit one spouse more than the other.