Orlando Family Lawyer
Getting a Divorce in Florida
To file for divorce in Florida, one spouse must be a resident of the state for at least 6 months before filing. The petitioning spouse must also state the grounds (reason) for the divorce. Florida is a no-fault divorce state, so the petitioner merely needs to state that the marriage is "irretrievably broken." Although, they may cite a specific fault ground like adultery for a judge’s consideration when deciding an issue like alimony.
Couples in Florida may pursue a simplified dissolution or traditional dissolution. A simplified dissolution is the quicker way to get divorced and is available for couples who:
- agree that the marriage cannot be saved;
- do not have any minor or dependent children and do not expect any;
- are not seeking alimony;
- have agreed to a written settlement dividing assets and debts; and
- agree to the simplified procedure which relinquishes the right to a trial and appeal.
A traditional dissolution entails a "Petition for Dissolution of Marriage,” which sets forth the grounds for divorce and what the filing spouse wants in the property division, alimony, custody, and child support negotiations. After filing all the necessary forms, the couple may either settle a divorce agreement on their own or with a mediator's help. If they cannot settle through mediation, they will go to trial.
Cooperative spouses may also pursue collaborative divorce, which is a non-adversarial process conducted outside of the court system, where each party and their collaboratively trained attorney are guided in interest-based negotiations to reach a fair and equitable agreement. There are four basic steps in the collaborative process:
- The voluntary exchange of all relevant information.
- Identification of each party’s interests and goals.
- Consideration of all viable and available options.
- Assessment of options to reach full agreement.
The process ends when the parties have made their own decisions and reach a full agreement, which they will submit to the court for approval.
Dealing with issues surrounding something as important as your family can be extremely difficult. It is during times like these that if an attorney is needed, you obtain representation that will be cognizant of your feelings as well as your goal in resolving the outstanding matters. Attorney Benjamin has handled several family matters and respects the seriousness of the issues surrounding these matters. She handles dissolution of marriage, child support, modifications, visitation, and contempt matters.
“Attorney Benjamin is great at what she does, I’ve used her services multiple times and always get the result I’m looking for. Very professional and very sharp at her craft. I highly recommend her services...” - David B.
“Attorney Benjamin made me feel at ease during a time I felt uncertain by communicating and keeping me informed every step of the way. Attorney Benjamin was also very thorough and very professional.” - Will
“Very professional and gets the job with integrity! If you need an attorney who will help you, I HIGHLY recommend Attorney Nicole Benjamin. I am forever grateful to her and her staff.” - Phala
An important divorce negotiation is the child custody arrangement, which addresses parenting time (the visitation and custody schedule) and parental responsibility (each parent's right to make major medical, educational, religious, or legal decisions for the child). Parenting time and parental responsibility may be shared jointly or ordered solely for one parent.
To determine the custody decision, a Florida judge will examine each parent’s ability and desire to act in the child's best interests, which includes factors like:
- each parent's willingness to foster a relationship between the child and the other parent;
- each parent's ability to meet the child's needs;
- each parent's physical and mental health;
- each parent's moral fitness;
- each parent's ability to provide the child with a consistent routine;
- geographic viability of the parenting plan (the amount of travel it would take to honor the time-sharing schedule);
- child's adjustment to home and community;
- child’s preference if of a sufficient age and understanding;
- evidence of domestic violence, if any;
- each parent's ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child;
- the child's developmental age, needs, and abilities; and
- any other relevant factor.
One way to settle the matters of a divorce is mediation. Mediation will be facilitated by a trained, third-party mediator whose responsibilities are to encourage productive and collaborative conversation and communication. A mediator does not have the power to make any decisions for the spouses, and their focus will be on helping the couple work towards solving their dispute.
Mediation is often a favorable dispute resolution method for divorce, as it grants spouses the most decision-making power, rather than defaulting to a judge’s decision in a heated trial. Mediation can also save time and money, and the help of an experienced attorney can better help spouses prepare their goals for the sessions. Learn more about why mediation may be the best option for you and your spouse to resolve your divorce disputes here.
Divorce is a complex process that involves many important negotiations and concerns. However, an experienced attorney can efficiently guide you through every step of the way, from filing the divorce petition to discussing the custody arrangement to resolving all relevant divorce issues in mediation. Attorney Nicole Benjamin’s extensive experience in family law will make the legal process easier on you.
Let Benjamin Law protect your spousal and parental interests in the context of your family law negotiations. Call (407) 410-3850 or contact our firm online to learn more.
Family law encompasses a range of issues, including divorce petitions and child custody negotiations. These matters can be difficult to navigate alone, especially while you are also taking care of yourself and your children in the process. If you are facing a family law concern in Orlando, let Benjamin Law handle the legal side for you. Attorney Nicole Benjamin has nearly 20 years of professional legal experience, and she takes a personalized approach to her clients as she builds trusted connections with them. She will champion your and your child’s best interests in negotiation, and you can trust her to protect your family rights every step of the way.