1. Every Family Law Courtroom is different. It is important to know how things work in your particular Courtroom. For example, some counties tend to be more formal than others. Also, each county has its own local rules.
Will I owe alimony? This is a question on the mind of many people who are considering making the decision to move forward with a divorce. Today, I had a call from a man who has been married for 20 years in a very unhappy marriage. Can he afford a divorce? That was his question. My answer was, the decision to get divorced or not, is not really a financial question.
Many people recently are thinking mediation when they begin to think about getting divorced. I find this exciting; it means more and more people are thinking about moving on from their marriage without the destruction and drama of litigation. However, mediation is for a specific purpose and does not meet every divorcing couple's needs. If you're thinking about amicably ending your marriage the first thing to ask yourself is: Do my partner and I both agree to end our marriage amicably? If the answer is yes, then you have a new set of questions to ask:
There are many ways to get divorced in Florida. To get divorced you need a marital settlement agreement (MSA) and a parenting plan or you need a final judgment (an Order from a judge which rules on all of the various aspects of a divorce). An MSA and parenting plan (if there are minor children) are the two documents that will need to be drafted and signed by the parties if they want agree to the terms of their divorce rather than making a Judge decide.
There are several areas of law that have overlapping issues and various types of attorneys. As an example, if you and your significant other were to get into a physical altercation in front of your child, you would trigger several areas of law. It is very important to understand what kind of attorney you need so that you can find the right attorney for you.
At this point in time there are no set specific rules for an award of alimony in Florida. Frequently, I get calls from client and hear things like - there is no alimony if we have only been married for 3 years. Or, we have been married 9 years, if we don't get divorced now I will have to pay alimony. Neither of these statements is true. Of all of the areas of family law or divorce law, alimony is the most fact specific and the area that MOST requires a knowledgeable attorney to assess your case. To begin with, there are multiple types of alimony in Florida and each one is for a different purpose and would be applicable under different circumstances. The basic question in all alimony cases is does one party have an ability to pay alimony and does the other party have a need for alimony. Alimony, in general, is intended to help put people on somewhat equal footing. VERY generally speaking, alimony awards can be from 0% of the payor's income to 50% or more of their income depending on the facts. Many types of alimony are modifiable after they are entered in a divorce upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstance, some types of alimony are not modifiable. Alimony is typically taxable as income to the recipient and tax deductible for the payor. In brief, the types of alimony are:
Here are some tips for how YOU can help to keep your own attorney's fees low.
The appointment of a guardian ad litem should be considered if you are in the midst of a custody or family law matter, whether it is within a divorce, modification or paternity case, and there are allegations of drug use, neglect, unsafe living conditions, alcohol use or generally bad parenting. Guardian Ad Litems (GALS) are professional who job it is to investigate the facts and circumstances of a case and to report to the Court on what they perceive would be in the best interest of the child. The recommendation of the GAL is not binding upon the Court, but most judges weigh very heavily a GAL's opinion.
This list is continued from the last post, Florida Divorce Top 10 Vocabulary Words Part 1