Ending A Marriage - How To Make The Decision

If you’ve already started thinking about ending your marriage, there are obviously troubling issues between you and your spouse. Thoughts of leaving your husband or wife don’t come up unless something serious is going on in the marriage. People contemplate ending a marriage for many reasons. It may have been the occurrence of a singular catastrophic incident, chronic behavior or a slow burning dissatisfaction with life as a married person.

Everybody Deserves To Be Happy

You deserve to be happy, as does your spouse. No matter what else may be true about your or your spouse, or about your marriage, happiness is supposed to be part of the equation. For better or for worse was never meant to mean a long, tortuous life chained to someone who almost makes you feel like life isn’t worth living. Consider how short your life is and how big the world is. The world is filled with opportunities and chances to be happy. You shouldn’t have to pay the price of your own happiness just to avoid ending a marriage.

Could Things Get Better?

As a loyal spouse, you may be torn between divorce and staying in the marriage because things may get better. It’s important to be very honest with yourself about this. Theoretically, any marriage can get better. In reality, many marriages don’t. Some rifts between spouses are just too painful to heal. Other times, inherent differences between people make it impossible to have a peaceful coexistence. And people change over time. You might feel like you’re married to a stranger at this point. One sign of a possible improvement in the marriage include your spouse initiating meaningful conversations with you about the marital issues. Another is a willingness by both partners to go to marriage counseling. If things are looking hopeful, you might delay your final decision. Just make sure you aren’t delaying it because you’re afraid to ever make a choice.

What Will People Think?

The anticipated reactions of other people can convolute your decision-making process. If you have a close relationship with your in-laws, you may be embarrassed or afraid of what a divorce will do to that relationship. You might feel like you’ll lose friends, or that your neighbors will look down on you. The thing is, those people aren’t living your life. They don’t know what you have to put up with on a daily basis. Just as you don’t know the intimacies of anyone else’s marriage, no one else knows the intimacies of your marriage. When deciding on whether to end a marriage, it really doesn’t matter what other people think. It only matters what you think and feel.

Consider the Alternative

Speculate on what would happen if you decide to stay in a dead end marriage despite being unhappy, being treated poorly or suffering abuse. A dead end marriage won’t lead to anything positive in the future. If nothing improves then things may not even stay the same; they may get worse. You will have lived your life in a dead end marriage for what? To please others, or to please some false idea of who you think others want you to be?

Ending a marriage isn’t easy. It’s not “the easy way out.” It’s the smart way out if you’ve given careful consideration to the divorce from all angles. Ending a marriage means you’ll have to forge ahead on your own. That can be a scary thought after years of marriage. Look at it this way. You were alone before and you made it alright. If you need to, you can do it again.

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Florida Divorce Law

Like all the other states in the country, Florida has its own set of divorce laws. When a married couple has decided their relationship is no longer worth salvaging, divorce may be the only option they consider. The general requirements for getting a divorce according to Florida divorce law are essentially the same as for other states. At least one member of the married couple must be a legal resident of the state for at least six months before the couple decides to file for divorce. The party who files must also visit their local circuit court and get a form for Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The form must come from the court in the county in which the person lives. It is also required that the spouse be made aware of the petition as they have 20 days to file a response to the petition.

If the other spouse doesn’t respond within the 20 days, the person filing for the divorce can file a motion for default. To do this, Florida divorce law requires the individual to the clerk of court and file out certain forms, as well as set a final hearing. The person filing must also notify their spouse of the hearing with a Notice of Hearing. The next step is that the respondent can either agree or disagree and file a notice for trial. When this occurs, it is considered a contested divorce. With a contested divorce, it’s wise to retain a skilled divorce attorney. If the spouse agrees with the divorce, it is an uncontested divorce and the hearing can proceed as long as all pertinent forms are filed.

Marriage Presumptions in Florida

According to Florida divorce law, two people are considered legally married when they have had a ceremony and live together with the belief that they are married.

What are the Terms of Divorce in Florida?

If a person is filing for divorce, there are certain things to consider, which makes it extremely important to know what they want to gain from the divorce. One of these things is whether the wife will keep her married name or go back to her maiden name after the divorce is final. Whatever the aspects, it’s important to acknowledge what’s most important to each party and to properly proceed when filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. However, even if both parties agree to all of the conditions of the divorce, they should file a Marital Settlement Agreement for Dissolution of Marriage. If the marriage produced children, they should file a Marital Settlement Agreement for Dissolution of Marriage with Dependent or Minor Children, which can ensure that the divorce proceedings go smoothly.

In general, there are two specific grounds for divorce according to Florida divorce law. They include the following:

• The marriage is irretrievably broken and cannot be saved
• One of the spouses has been mentally incapacitated for over three years

How a Married Couple Can Qualify for Simplified Dissolution

In the state of Florida, a couple can qualify for a sampled dissolution of marriage as long as certain requirements are met. They include the following:

• The two spouses mutually agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken and cannot be salvaged
• Both spouses agree to give up their rights to a trial or appeal
• Both spouses will go to the clerk of court’s office and sign the petition
• The wife is not pregnant and there are no children or dependents in the marriage
• Neither spouse is requesting alimony
• The spouses have agreed on how to divide their property and debts
• Neither spouse is requesting financial information other than court-approved financial documents
• Both spouses will attend the final hearing

Once the two parties file and submit all the pertinent documents to the clerk of court, they will get the date and time for their court appearance. If both parties appear at the hearing and all the paperwork is in order, the judge can then hand down the final judgment for dissolution of the marriage. The divorce is officially final after the judge signs a Final Judgment of Simplified Dissolution of Marriage.

It’s important to note that both spouses are required to appear together before the judge at the hearing. If all the paperwork is in order, the judge can grant the final judgment to dissolve the marriage as a simplified dissolution of marriage by signing the Final Judgment of Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. This document is required to be provided by the soon-to-be-former couple.

Division of Property in Florida Divorces

Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that all the property amassed throughout the course of the marriage is divided in an equal and fair manner. Additionally, per Florida divorce law, other things are considered as well, including alimony awards, child support and other responsibilities each party had throughout the marriage. Generally, per Florida divorce law, the court considers certain factors when determining property division during a divorce, including the following:

• Length of the marriage
• The economic circumstances of each party
• The contributions of each spouse during the marriage, including child care, education and more
• A spouse’s wishes to retain an asset and to be free of a claim from the other party
• Contributions made to one spouse by the other for education or career enhancement
• A spouse’s wishes to retain the marital home for the benefit of a dependent child
• Contributions from each party toward marital and non-marital assets
• Vested and non-vested benefits, pensions, funds, retirement or insurance plans other other things subject to distribution

Alimony in Florida Divorces

As per Florida divorce law, alimony is classified in four distinct categories. The court can order periodic payments or lump sum payments or even both. Either spouse can request the support as it is based on need as opposed to the other spouse’s ability to pay. The alimony categories include the following:

Bridge-the-Gap: This is a type of payment that is made to help one spouse in the short term as they work toward being independent. It lasts no longer than two years.
Rehabilitative: This type of payment is meant to help one party become self-sufficient by developing skills through education, training or work.
Permanent: This type of support is in place when one spouse is financially unable to support themselves. However, it is usually not awarded if the marriage was short unless there are exceptional circumstances in place.
Durational: This type of support is awarded to someone whose marriage was short to moderate in duration.

Child Support in Florida Divorces

Florida divorce law involves the Income Shares Model when taking child support into consideration. This takes both parents’ income to consider how much money each contributes toward the child.

In some cases, a health insurance provision is included in a child support order for minor children. Health insurance costs do not go over five percent of the parent’s gross income. In some cases, the court can require that the parent paying child support buy a life insurance policy to protect the child support order.

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Child Support Legal Services
In Florida, divorced or separated couples often share joint custody of their children. However, sometimes location or other complications make this arrangement impossible. When one parent has sole physical custody of the children, the non-custodial parent is required to pay child support. Other conditions require support payments as well. Both parents are required to take part in meeting the needs of their children.

Generally, child custody and support are established during divorce proceedings. However, parents who were never married are still entitled to child support. All children are entitled to support to meet their basic needs. If you are having difficulty getting child support that is owed to you, it is best to consult a Florida family law attorney.

Procedures for Obtaining Child Support

To legally obtain child support, you must go through the court system or visit your local child support office. If you and your partner create a verbal or written agreement together, non-payment cannot be pursued by the law. While you may be able to reach an agreement at the time of separation, you cannot be sure one partner won’t change their mind. Your family law attorney will help you get started with the proper forms.

After filing your claim for child support, you will be contacted for information regarding your financial situation and that of your spouse. (If you applied for other government assistance, child support enforcement may have been contacted on your behalf.) It is important to comply with this step. However, it can be difficult to gather information about a parent wishing to avoid payment. Your attorney and the support enforcement office can help get this information. You must also disclose any court case that has involved your child in the past. It may take 6 to 8 months to obtain the support order.

Determination of Payment Amount

In Florida, the income of both parents and the amount of time the child spends living with each parent work to determine the payment amount. There are many factors that define the final amount, but Florida payments are determined by the following calculations.

  • 1 child – 20 percent of income
  • 2 children – 28 percent of income
  • 3 children – 32 percent of income
  • 4 children – 40 percent of income
  • 5 children – 45 percent of income
  • 6 children – 50 percent of income

Along with the use of the calculator, other factors are considered. Some special circumstances may be considered regarding the income of both parents, and the healthcare needs of the child. Florida guidelines include some additional deviations. Payments may be different from the amounts calculated above if the child has excess medical, psychological, or educational expenses. This change would distribute these needs evenly between both parents.

The age of the child(ren) is an important factor regarding the payment amount. Older children may have larger expenses. The independent income earned by the child may also be considered. If parental income varies with seasons, payments may need to be changed as well. A parent will not be required to pay more than 50 percent of their income toward child support payments.

Your custody plan will also be considered when determining payments. The number of overnight stays is an important factor. Other activities may be considered as well. If a parent fails to uphold a joint custody arrangement, support payments may be modified.

Enforcing Child Support Payments

In the event that your spouse refuses to pay or stops making payments, there are ways to enforce support through Florida law. Sometimes, it is difficult to obtain information about a parent attempting to dodge support payments. A family law attorney can help you find the best options to regain unpaid child support.

The Enforcement Unit of the Child Support Department may take the following actions to enforce payment.

  • Wage Garnishment – Employers can deduct the amount of support owed before payment for labor.
  • Freezing Bank Accounts – A computer search can reveal active bank accounts of non-paying parents which can be frozen.
  • Referral for Contempt – Failing to follow a court order is contempt of court which can lead to fines and jail time.
  • Suspension of Licenses – Vehicle and professional licenses can be temporarily suspended.
  • Liens – Liens can be placed on real estate and personal property.
  • IRS Interception – Tax returns can be taken to help cover delinquent payments.
  • Lottery Winnings – If a parent wins more than 600 dollars in the Florida state lottery, the winnings can be used for delinquent support.

Florida child support enforcement works with departments in other states to ensure payment from parents who live in another state. In cases that involve other states, enforcement tactics are used that comply with the laws in both states. A family law attorney is especially useful in these cases to act as a liaison between the cases of each state.

If the support you receive is insufficient, you may be able to modify your payments. This is done by filing a modification petition with the court. This is usually only considered with a significant financial change by either parent. It is important to note that once the modification is filed, the court must see in through even if payments decrease.

How a Family Law Attorney Can Help

There are laws in place to support the needs of children and the families who care for them. However, court cases can become lengthy and difficult. Your family law attorney understands the statutes surrounding your case. An attorney can help you speed up the process by preparing the proper forms, searching for a missing parent, and enforcing support payments.

Child custody and support cases are always difficult and painful for families to endure. Providing for your child(ren) should not be a complication of your separation. If you are facing a child support case in the Orlando area, contact our office today to schedule a free consultation. The Law Office of Erin Morse is ready to fight for your right to provide the best care for your children.

General Family Law Issues

The term family law seems like a misnomer. In a perfect world, the two words would never be required to go together. However, many legal cases fall under the category of family law. These cases are naturally difficult and require an attorney with compassion and understanding for every unique situation.
Family naturally invokes the expectancy for privacy, and it may be tempting to try to work out the legalities of family problems alone. However, the results can be disastrous when emotions and anger take over the situation. An experienced family law attorney has the ability to fully understand your case and the laws surrounding it. This helps to successfully work out the best outcome for you and your family.
While thousands of individual cases fit into the category of family law, there are five broad sections that describe these situations.

Divorce

No matter who made the final decision to file for a divorce, the situation is always painful. A marriage that two people initially expected to last forever fell apart. Unfortunately, the resolution of a marriage is not as easy as simply parting ways.
The legal issues surrounding divorce are complicated and often add stress to an already volatile situation. A family law attorney can help you keep emotions in check to determine the best terms to live by when the divorce is final. The considerations to be made include:

  • Child support
  • Division of assets and debt
  • Alimony
  • Parenting and custody plan

Determining a marital settlement agreement before filing for divorce helps to ensure you make the best decisions for your family. Having a plan in place helps relieve anxiety and ensures you will face no surprises in court.

Child Custody

There is no such thing as a perfect custody arrangement. After all, no one wants to give up time with their child. However, child custody in Florida is determined by “the best interests of the child” and this often means a joint custody agreement. There are 4 main types of child custody in Florida including:

  • Physical custody – Physical custody refers to the home in which the child resides. Physical custody can be joint custody (when the child’s time is divided between both parents) or sole custody (when the child resides with one parent). Sole physical custody is often awarded when the parents live far apart.
  • Legal custody – Legal custody is the authority to make important decisions regarding the child. This includes healthcare, education, religion, and upbringing. Joint legal custody is usually awarded.
  • Sole custody – Sole custody may refer to legal or physical custody. This means one parent has full legal and/or physical custody. This usually occurs when one parent is unfit to care for the child.
  • Joint custody – Joint custody is an arrangement where parents work together to share legal and/or physical custody of the child. Joint legal custody may require meetings to make major decisions regarding the child’s future. Joint physical custody usually revolves on a schedule where each parent will spend time with the child.

It is vital to make these decisions in a professional setting. A united controlled plan will help children feel at ease with the situation.

Property Division

When couples separate, the property they owned together must be separated. The biggest part of this decision is often the home shared by the couple. There are several ways to consider working out the decision, including:

  • Selling the home – If neither spouse wants to keep the home, this decision makes division easy. The profits from the sale will be equally divided.
  • Buyout – If one spouse wants to stay in the home, they might buy the other spouse’s share of the residence.
  • Refinance – If a spouse decides on a plan to buy out the home, refinance can free up equity to pay for the full property.

All assets acquired during the marriage must be divided. Debts are divided as well. There are different ways the court works to divide these things fairly in Florida. If children are involved, the best interests of the children is a major factor in the division of assets. Sometimes, couples can agree on how to divide property. More often, a family law attorney or mediator is necessary.

Child Support

The agreement of child support is often a hotly contested issue in child custody cases. However, child support has nothing to do with either parent. In all states, child support is required because it is the right of the child. Child support is used to supply children with basic needs including food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and education.
Child support is calculated in Florida based on the total earnings of both parents. However, the non-custodial parent is expected to make payments determined by a basic child support calculator. There are other issues surrounding child support which your family law attorney can help you to understand.

Spousal Support

After a divorce, both spouses should have the expectation to continue with the same quality of life they enjoyed while living together. It is not uncommon for one spouse to take care of most of the home duties while the other achieves a successful career. In the event of a divorce, the high wage earner is often expected to pay alimony (spousal support payments) to the spouse with lower earnings.
Alimony calculation has always been a fuzzy science in Florida. However, new changes to legislation may mean big changes for payments. Current statutes include a list of factors to be considered to receive payment. The technical process can be made easier with help from your family law attorney.
There are no easy answers surrounding the issues of family law. However, learning the laws surrounding your situation can help you make important decisions. A family law attorney can help calm tense negotiations and guide you to make decisions for an easier future. If you are facing legal issues and are located in Orlando or the surrounding areas, contact us today for a free consultation. The Law Office of Erin Morse is ready to take care of your unique case with the care you give to your own family.

The Quickest And Easiest Way
To Get In Control Of Your Family Law Concerns

Contact us to schedule a FREE Consultation with Attorney Morse over the phone.
Go to sleep tonight knowing that everything has finally been taken care of.


407-900-7451


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Putting Your Children, Not Your Divorce First

Children deserve to have a healthy relationship with their parents. Parents who are going through a divorce may not be able to be with the children everyday, but through mutual respect of the divorce and separation and putting the children first, the children will feel as if they can better maneuver the separation. This mature approach to a situation that is already mentally taxing can help the children to go a long way. As the child custody and child support related duties are assigned, allowing the children to be the center and in the winning position should be the goal for the parents.

Making a stand for your children is what should be front and center. Child custody is a serious position to have. It is in the interest of the both parents if they decide on child custody in a healthy manner. Both parents can agree to disagree on the dissolution of their relationship, but coming up with a game plan on how to make certain the children are fully supported is key.

CHILD SUPPORT

Child support is put in to place in order to protect and provide for the child. The parent with child custody receives the money to use for raising the child. Remembering this fact and not focusing on how the ex-partner will receive the money can remove a lot of misunderstandings. The financial support is for the parent who has custody to use for the children.

Child support is necessary. In focusing on the game plan of putting the children first, it is best to remember to put egos aside. Child support payments continue until the child is 18 years of age. There are special circumstances where the support may continue if the child is unable to care for him or herself. In Florida paying child support is a necessary step in order to ensure that both parents are involved in the upbringing of the child. Florida has laws in place in order to make certain that both parents participate in hopes of having the child grow up to become an upstanding and balanced individual.

Florida assists parents with the following issues:

  • court orders
  • support enforcement
  • collection from the parents living in another state
  • to enforce payment via income withholding
  • to find a missing parent
  • establish paternity

THE AMOUNT OF SUPPORT

Thе amоunt оf support varies per each situation. The parent who is responsible for paying support reports how much they are making and the judge assesses. The support is an agreement made by negotiating, mediating or a court decision. Factors that are considered for the percentage to pay is the paying parent’s income. Additionally, the parents can agree and arrange for who pays for medical insurance. If the parents do not do this the court may order the paying parent or both parents to pay for the insurance or medical bills.

Without being too afraid that your bottom line will all go away, it is important to understand that the support amount is also based on what the parent is capable of earning as per their education and job skills. Taking on a low wage job in order to avoid child support payments is not a way of making certain that your child is first and winning in the game of life. The court will assess accordingly and may decide that even with a lower paying job the paying parent must pay a higher amount.

MAKING PAYMENTS

In order to comply with the state’s law, payments have to be made. The judge will set how often and how the payments are made if the parents cannot come to an amicable agreement. In too many cases, the parents forget about the importance of the child and start to have a tug-of-war about if they should make payments and if the receiving parent is taking advantage of the situation. If the child has pushed to the side like this, then the payment will be made via the state of Florida’s child support agency.

Not making payments is not putting the child first. In the event that this happens Florida has laws in place to get payments back on track. Modifications and adjustments can be made under special circumstances. If both parents are in agreement they will do so in an agreement of which the court must approve. If the parents are not on the same page the court will decide and could decide to not make a change at all.

When the paying parent does not pay, then the repercussions could be the following:

  • Credit bureaus are notified of the unpaid amount and this affects the paying parent’s credit
  • Tax refunds are taken and diverted accordingly
  • Loss of driver’s license
  • Criminal charges brought forward and jail time served or a fine imposed
  • Lien against property which makes it impossible to sell the property or to transfer it

TAXES

The state works hard to make certain that the child is receiving the child support needed. The benefit goes to the parents when the child is getting the support they need.

Parents are encouraged to have a talk with their accountant in order to learn of the tax benefits.

ATTORNEYS AND MEDIATORS

By hiring an attorney more in depth information can be learned about the situation. Hiring a lawyer in Florida can be helpful in order to make certain the person is going in to the support case with all eyes open and aware of the options.

There is also online information available. Just remember that in order to be fully prepared hiring an attorney may be the next best move to protecting your assets and keeping the child first.

With the help of the Internet there are calculators which help in figuring out how much you may receive and how much is possible overdue. The Internet, however, can never fully assess your personal situation. Hiring an attorney, you can share the specific information about your situation.

Remembering that you and the other parent are in a lifelong commitment to the child is going to be the best goal of putting the child first and not the divorce. The divorce becomes a secondary item on the list of what is important. By keeping a sound mind and the ability to communicate, only then can agreements be made. The divorce attorney you choose will assist in making certain that the child custody and child support are front and center.