2023 Guide to Divorce in Florida
Ending a marriage is a complex undertaking. You have to understand the applicable divorce laws in Florida so you can make informed decisions about how to proceed with each aspect of the legal case.
Working with a Sarasota divorce attorney can help you to get the information you need to make those decisions. Contact the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell for legal assistance with your divorce in Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice, Florida.
Who can file for divorce in Florida?
In Florida, a divorce petition should be filed in the county where the spouse to be served resides, where the parties last lived as Husband and Wife, and/or where the marital residence or real property owned by both parties is located. At least one person must have lived in the state for at least six months. The only exception to this is for military members who are stationed in another state or country.
You don’t have to have any substantive grounds for divorce in Florida. The law allows you to file based irreconcilable differences which is essentially the marriage being broken.
What happens during property division?
The property division process deals with marital property and liabilities. Any property or debt that is classified as non-marital will be identified and set aside separately to the spouse who owns or is responsible for it before equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities occurs. You and your ex might be able to work together to split all of the marital assets and debts. Typically, it’s best to split the largest assets first and then use smaller assets and debts to balance out the Equitable Distribution Schedule.
Some assets might be more difficult to divide than others. For example, retirement accounts can be challenging unless each party has one and they’re approximately the same value. Some retirement accounts such as a 401K may need a qualified domestic relations order to be divided.
One factor to consider during this process is that joint debts don’t go away just because you divorce. Creditors aren’t part of the divorce, so they don’t have to abide by the terms and conditions of your divorce property division settlement agreement. If your name is on an account, the creditor can still come after you even if the court said your ex was responsible for the debt. For this reason, some people prefer to liquidate assets to pay off such marital debts during the divorce.
How is child custody handled?
Child custody is often the most difficult part of a divorce. It’s usually best if you and your ex can work together to make these decisions as reasonable and responsible parents. Being able to be a parenting team sets a good foundation for the post-divorce co-parenting relationship.
One of the most important things to remember about child custody is that you have to do what’s best for the children. The custody arrangement shouldn’t be based off of anything except what the children need. This also shouldn’t be a negotiation point for things like property division or anything else.
What should you know about financial obligations?
Parents who still have minor children will have a child support order governing how the child support and certain children’s expenses such as health insurance, daycare, and uncovered co-pays for health, dental, and vision insurance, as well as prescriptions must be handled. The court considers various factors, including the income of both parents, the overnight time the child is with each parent, the child’s needs, and how many children require support. Child support payments aren’t taxed for the recipient.
Alimony is also ordered in many cases. This is legally known as spousal support. It’s not ordered in all cases. Longer marriages tend to have alimony more than shorter marriages. Alimony payments cannot be deducted from the payer’s gross income, and the recipient does not have to count it as income for tax purposes.
Contact Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell for Help
Keeping up with the current divorce laws in Florida can be a challenge, but it’s crucial that your divorce team knows them. The professionals with the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell are prepared to handle even the most complex divorces. You can focus on starting to build your new life while our Sarasota divorce attorney Matthew Martell handles the legal aspects of your case.