Florida Divorce

Understanding Divorce in Florida: Key Terms and Concepts Explained

Divorce is all around us in society, but when it happens to you, it suddenly becomes real. Many people immediately feel overwhelmed and blindsided, but this doesn’t have to be the case. 

The Bardine Law Firm wants to help clients and readers better grasp the Florida divorce process through a crash course series of blogs. Over the next four entries, we aim to provide enough information to make you feel confident going forward into this new chapter of your life.

To talk with Johnny Bardine and schedule a consultation, contact us today at (727) 605-7078 or through our website.

Alimony – Definition and Relevance in Florida

Alimony represents a critical aspect of the financial dynamics in divorce proceedings, something that can follow you for the rest of your life. It is the financial support granted to one spouse by the other, primarily aimed at preserving the standard of living established during the marriage. Florida’s approach to alimony is multifaceted and currently undergoing changes, but the general factors that a court will use to determine alimony include the length of the marriage, each spouse’s earning capabilities, and the health and financial circumstances of both parties. Notably, Florida’s no-fault divorce stance means the cause of divorce, such as adultery, typically doesn’t impact alimony decisions. However, if marital assets were misused in an extramarital affair, courts may consider it. 

Marital Property – What it Entails and Its Significance

Marital property in Florida divorce law encapsulates the assets and debts acquired collectively during the marriage. The state adheres to the principle of equitable distribution, meaning assets and liabilities are divided ‘fairly’ between spouses, but ‘fairly’ does not immediately mean 50/50 ownership of all assets. 

Generally, marital property includes all acquisitions made during the marriage, with certain exceptions like inheritances or personal gifts. Interestingly, separate property can transform into marital property through commingling, such as using joint funds for mortgage payments on a property owned by one spouse prior to the marriage. The court’s aim in distributing marital property is to achieve an equitable division that reflects each party’s contributions and circumstances. 

Child Custody – Types and Considerations in Florida

Child custody in Florida is firmly centered around the best interests of the child, a principle that guides all judicial decisions in these matters. Unlike some jurisdictions, Florida law does not inherently favor mothers or fathers – instead, custody is determined based on the specific circumstances of each case. Some of these factors include:

  • Each parent’s relationship with the child
  • The child’s own preferences
  • Each parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs without assistance

The state encourages shared custody arrangements, promoting ongoing and active involvement from both parents. However, situations like domestic violence or substance abuse may cause courts to think differently. Florida’s adoption of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act also ensures consistent enforcement of custody orders across state lines, preventing jurisdictional conflicts. 

Mediation – Role and Benefits in Divorce Cases

Mediation in Florida divorce cases is an attractive alternative to traditional court litigation. In mediation, a neutral third party assists the divorcing couple in negotiating and resolving disputes, be it related to child custody, alimony, or property division. The job of a mediator is not to take sides. Instead, they aim to help two people come to an agreement that respects both their wishes and protects the interests of their child, should one exist. While not mandatory under state law, many Florida counties require mediation before court proceedings. 

The process offers several advantages – it’s typically more cost-effective and quicker than going to court, allows couples greater control over the outcome, and keeps proceedings private. Mediation can be particularly beneficial in preserving a cooperative spirit, reducing the emotional toll on both parties and any children involved. It encourages a collaborative approach to problem-solving, often leading to more amicable and mutually satisfactory agreements.

Contact A Florida Divorce Attorney Today

Divorce happens for a multitude of reasons, but the one constant through them all is the importance of staying informed and up-to-date about the process. In our next blog, we will look deeper into additional terms in divorce proceedings, further expanding your knowledge and readiness for navigating this journey. 

The Bardine Law Firm also stands ready to help you come out of your marriage with dignity, respect, and the freedom to live your life. Contact us at (727) 605-7078 or through our website today to speak with Johnny Bardine and schedule a consultation.