You must be a resident of the State of Florida for at least six (6) months prior to filing for divorce. In the event the person initiating the divorce is in the military, the divorce may be brought wherever that person would normally reside, on a permanent basis, but for his/her service in the military.
To initiate divorce proceedings, a petition is filed with the Court that may address any number of the following issues: timesharing with children, child support, alimony, the handling of the marital home and other real property, division of personal property (bank accounts, retirement accounts, automobiles, household items, etc.), and division of debts and liabilities (personal loans, mortgages, credit card balances, etc.).
Once the petition is filed with the Court, a copy is served (by either deputy sheriff or private process server) on the other person. An Answer must be filed within twenty (20) days.
The State of Florida requires full financial disclosure from each person involved in a divorce proceeding. This is accomplished by the exchanging of a Financial Affidavit (a form provided by the Supreme Court of Florida), and other various documents which reflect the value of all the assets and debts (i.e. home appraisals, bank statements, retirement account statements, mortgage statements, credit card statements, loan documentation, etc.).
Parenting Plans include, but are not limited to, detailed, specific language regarding: the time the children will spend in each parent’s household – including weekday, weekend, summer, and holiday time; how the children will be exchanged for such time-sharing; the various types of and times for communication available to the parents and their children; and whether one or both parents will make decisions regarding the well-being of the children – such as issues of education, healthcare, and religion.
Parents may either share the parental responsibly of raising their children or give one parent sole parental responsibility. If a parent is granted sole parental responsibility, he or she makes all major decisions on behalf of the children. However, sole parental responsibility is rare. Shared parental responsibility will be granted unless there is substantial evidence that shared responsibility will be detrimental to the children.
It is always best for the parents to agree upon a parenting plan for their family, but if the parents are unable to agree, then it will be left to the Court to determine the parenting plan based on the best interests of the children.
Bridge-the-Gap Alimony is awarded to give the receiving spouse a chance to get back on their financial feet. It can last for up to 2 years after the divorce is finalized, and is considered in cases where the marriage was less than 7 years in duration.
Rehabilitative Alimony is awarded for a specific purpose. It intended to help the receiving spouse acquire the education and/or job skills required to either enter the workforce or secure a superior job to better support him or herself. The receiving spouse must have a specific plan that details their goals and methods of reaching those goals. The plan must also outline the expenses and time expected to complete the rehabilitation plan.
Durational Alimony is considered in cases where the marriage lasted between 7 and 17 years. The duration of the award varies on a case-by-case basis, but may not extend for more years than the parties were actually married, and will likely be awarded for fewer years than the duration of the marriage.
Permanent Periodic Alimony is traditionally what comes to mind when people think of alimony. Permanent Alimony is paid monthly, and ends only when one of the parties die, or the receiving spouse remarries. Permanent alimony is considered in cases with marriages lasting 17 years or longer. This type of alimony is generally tax deductible to the paying spouse (deducted from your gross income before taxes) and it is taxable to the receiving spouse (added to your gross income before taxes).
There are many complex issues that may arise during the course of divorce proceedings and we at Jennifer L. Sweeting, P.A., are qualified to provide you with the personal attention and practical advice you need. For more information, please contact us at 850-681-1010 for a thirty (30) minute consultation.