Professional and Experienced Divorce Representation with Your Best Interests in Mind
Divorce is not an easy process to go through, but it does not have to be unnecessarily difficult. If you seek to file for divorce or are already embroiled in a divorce, contact Benjamin Law for legal support immediately. We have been helping clients through the legal system for nearly 20 years, and Attorney Nicole Benajmin will know how to effectively guide you through whatever type of divorce you are facing while keeping your spousal interests and goals at the forefront of your divorce negotiations.
According to Fl. Stat. § 61.021, to file for divorce in Florida, either 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. Note that Florida is a no-fault divorce state, which means the petitioner merely needs to state that the marriage is "irretrievably broken." (However, a spouse who does seek to cite a specific fault ground like adultery may do so for a judge’s consideration when deciding child custody or alimony).
Florida has 2 main types of divorce – simplified dissolution or traditional dissolution. A simplified dissolution is a quicker, easier 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 (regular) dissolution begins when a spouse files a "Petition for Dissolution of Marriage" with the court, which sets forth the grounds for divorce and what the filing spouse wants in the property division, alimony, custody, and child support negotiations. After serving the other spouse with these forms notifying them of the divorce, they should respond with an answer. From there, 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 for a judge to decide.
Cooperative spouses may also pursue a collaborative divorce, which you can learn more about here.
In appropriate cases, a judge may order alimony to financially support one spouse during or after a divorce. To determine whether an alimony award is appropriate, (and if so, how much), the judge will look at:
- the length of the couple's marriage;
- the standard of living during the marriage;
- each spouse's age and mental health;
- tax effects of alimony on each spouse;
- each spouse's financial resources and monthly expenses and debts; and
- other relevant factors.
Depending on the situation, a judge may award temporary alimony while the divorce is pending or rehabilitative alimony to help a divorced spouse get a job to eventually support themselves.
Another important divorce matter to be negotiated is child custody. Parents can either settle an agreement between themselves regarding who has how much parental responsibility and parenting time, but if they cannot reach their own agreement, such as in mediation, a judge will make the final decision. Note that to approve or decide a custody arrangement, the judge will examine what is in the child’s best interests, including:
- each parent’s physical and mental health;
- the child’s relationship with each parent;
- the child’s ties to their siblings and community;
- the child’s physical and emotional needs;
- other relevant factors.
Division of marital property will also be an important topic to discuss in a Florida divorce. Keep in mind that Florida is an equitable distribution state, so a judge will divide a couple’s marital property equitably, not necessarily equally (50/50). Couples can draft their own property settlement agreement, but if they cannot reach a mutual agreement, the judge will make the decision largely based on both spouses’ contributions to the marriage, as well as:
- each spouse's income and job opportunities;
- the length of the marriage;
- either spouse's contributions to the other spouse's earning potential or career;
- the desirability of keeping the marital home as the residency for the couple's minor children;
- either spouse's waste of marital assets; and
- other relevant factors.
If you are facing a divorce in Orlando and seek legal representation in your negotiations, contact Benjamin Law online or at (407) 410-3850 for legal support today.
“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