Getting a divorce is not part of the plan, but those who find themselves in this situation likely have a lot of questions. When it comes to divorce, it is important to know that state law sets the rules. As a result, the way it unfolds can be different based on where you live. When it comes to a divorce in Florida, the following provides guidance on three of the top questions asked by couples in the early stages of divorce.
Concern #1: Division of assets
The top concern is often the division of marital assets during the divorce. In most cases, any asset that is acquired during the marriage is considered a marital asset and subject to divorce. This can include property like houses and vacation homes, vehicles, cash, bonds, and bank accounts as well as retirement assets like a pension or 401(k).
Ideally, the divorcing couple will come up with a division to present to the court. If the couple cannot agree, the court will use state law to help guide the division process. In Florida, this means the court will use the legal concept of equitable distribution. This means the division may not be an exact split. Instead, the court may take other factors into consideration to adjust the split of assets. The court may award one party to the divorce more than the other. These factors can include the length of the marriage and circumstances of each individual.
Concern #2: Child custody
Married couples who have children will have many questions about child custody after the divorce is finalized. In most cases, the goal is to have both parents play a significant role in the children’s lives. What that actually looks like will be different for each family. Ideally, the parents will put together a proposed parenting plan that outlines the responsibilities of each parent. The state also expects both parents to provide financially for the children and will likely award child support payments to help make this happen.
Concern #3: Alimony
Florida state law allows for the court to award alimony after a divorce. The court will take the length of the marriage into consideration when determining whether or an alimony award is appropriate and, if so, how much is the right amount. The court will generally consider a marriage that lasts for less than 7 years as a short marriage, those that range from 7 to 17 years as a moderate-term marriage and those over 17 years as a long-term marriage.
In addition to the length of the marriage, the court will also take the prior standard of living, financial and income-producing capacity as well as the age and overall condition of each party into consideration when making tis determination.