Divorece & Dissolution of Marriage in Florida
The Law Office of Erin Morse - Family Law Attorneys In Orlando, FL

Even when both parties agree to the terms, a divorce can still mean a major upheaval in a couple’s life. That married relationship has come to an end and it is time for that couple to start rebuilding their lives. However, if there are children that are part of the family, then a co-parenting situation will be starting with the help of a family law attorney in Orlando. This is where the issue of determining custody comes into the equation. On many levels, it is easy to divide assets. Deciding which is the best living environment for a child can be the real difficult decision and not only for the parents but also for the courts.

Every custody case in a divorce presents a family court judge with different factors to consider. That judge will always make their consideration based on the best interests of the child. As a general rule, Florida law would like to see a child maintaining contact with both parents. That would mean that both parents will also share in all the decision-making responsibilities of raising that child. Just because one spouse has moved from the home and is paying alimony and child support doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be involved with issues pertaining to education, religious upbringing, discipline, and college.

Although the prevailing wisdom is that courts favor mothers in custody matters, the reality is that each judge comes into the divorce proceeding with an open mind. Again, it all goes back to what is in the best interests of the child. That is really the only question that matters both to the courts and to a family law attorney in Orlando. Here are some of the factors that might sway a judge in their decision for the best option for custody:

The Health and Safety Environment

Exposing a child to any kind of abuse will have a major impact on a court’s decision as to a custody ruling. That abuse doesn’t have to directly involve a child, but if there are in an environment where they see one parent abuse the other, then it will become a factor with the child custody decision.

Once a court order has been filed, there could be issues of ongoing neglect such as abandonment or physical abuse. A family law attorney in Orlando can trigger an instant revaluation of the child custody ruling leading to one parent forfeiting their rights. A parent who is struggling with any kind of substance abuse would also be creating an unhealthy living environment in the eyes of the court. If it has been demonstrated that the living environment is not safe, then a judge could vacate the original order and order supervised visits for the parent and child.

Emotional Needs

A judge wants to see that parents put their children first. This becomes the foundation for a child’s developmental needs. With regard to a child custody decision, the judge will consider how well the parent knows about their child’s life outside of the house such as with friends and teachers. Are they aware of the child’s current interests and whether they are involved in any extracurricular activities?

A family law attorney in Orlando will try to demonstrate how the child’s emotional needs are being met by providing a structured environment. Does the parent have consistent times for homework, meals, and bedtime? What are the boundaries surrounding discipline? If those routines have been firmly established in the household with one parent, then a judge will consider that as being a preferable living situation. That is not to say that those routines can’t be duplicated in a second household. However, the judge needs to see a clear willingness from both parents to maintain those standards.

The child custody arraignment itself could have an impact on a child’s emotional needs. This is especially true with younger children who might find themselves frequently shuttled between households in between visits.

Co-Parenting Skills

The Florida family court system and the family law attorney in Orlando want to foster positive relationships between divorced couples and their children. That starts with honoring the dictates of the court. That begins with following the alimony and child support requirements. However, a parent who is constantly late with picking up or dropping off their children for a visitation could put their custody status in jeopardy. The same can be said for being late with child support or alimony payments. Obviously, there were always be factors that can cause delays. This is when the issue of communication between the parents is important. As long as the parents are keeping each other informed, then the family can flourish with co-parenting.

Family court judges understand the strain that a divorce can put on a couple. However, they don’t want to see that stress spilling over onto the children. Judges don’t appreciate when one parent belittles the other in front of the child. Even worse, is using the visitation as a kind of emotional “weapon.” There should never be discussions with a child about whether a parent is delinquent with alimony or child support. That is a matter that should be handled by a family law attorney in Orlando.

Moral Fitness

Moral fitness can also be a deciding factor for a family court judge. They can consider a parent who has substance abuses issues or introduces the child to multiple causal relationship partners. General verbal abuse will also be frowned upon by the courts. If infidelity was part of the divorce, then a judge can weigh that against how it might have impacted the child. All of these issues will be presented to the court by the family law attorney in Orlando as part of the hearing.

The Custody Options

There are two levels of child custody: Legal and physical. Often, they are intertwined. Legal custody grants a parent the sole responsibility to make all the decisions regarding their child’s upbringing and general welfare. The physical custody pertains to where the child lives and which parent they are living with.

The ideal situation for the Florida court is to establish a joint child custody arrangement. Although an order of joint custody might be rendered, that doesn’t mean that the child will split evenly the time they spend with each parent. For instance, it might work better if the child stays in the mother’s home during the school week and goes with the father on the weekends. Holidays and vacation times will be divided accordingly.

Developing a Parenting Plan

Divorcing couples can work with their family law attorney in Orlando to help develop a parenting plan. They might be able to present this plan to the judge if it is not contested by the parents. This plan needs to spell out in specific terms just what each parent is responsible for with regard to their children. This is separate from any child support or alimony agreement.

The parenting plan will detail the time-sharing schedule, the ways the parents will communicate with each other and the child and what are the daily responsibilities when the child is in their care. There also needs to be details about who will be responsible for things like taking the child to the dentist or doctor for regular check-ups and who is going to handle the after-school activities. The more that can be agreed to before going to see the judge, the better off the end result will be.

Once the custody issues have been worked out between the courts and the family law attorney in Orlando, families can adjust to their new routines. It might be a bit “bumpy” at first, but soon things can get back to normal. It is important for the parents to watch out for their kids in this transitional time to make sure they aren’t isolating themselves. Yes, the family dynamics have changed, but that doesn’t mean they still aren’t all a family.

Relocating With A Child After A Divorce

Florida Statute 61.13001 governs relocating with a child after divorce in Florida. Relocation is moving the child’s principal residence more than 50 miles away for 60 days or more. A vacation, temporary travel, or a necessary trip to a health care facility is not relocation. Before relocating, the parent must consider the child’s entire extended family, parents, stepparents, grandparents, and guardians. A parent who is relocating needs a new child custody order with a new time-sharing plan. The relocation is beneficial to the child if it improves his standard of living, places her in a better school district, or is closer to his or her grandparents.

Mediation After Divorce In Florida

You must decide where and how your child will live and where he or she will go to school. You’ve learned that an amicable relationship between you two parents and a good relationship with each of you is important to your child. Understanding and agreeing with your co-parent is less stressful and less expensive than contesting the relocation.You won’t have to go to court or pay legal fees and court costs. Look at the whole picture. How long did it take you to build your practice? How long did it take you to get into the position you’re in now? Have you
acquired vacation property or opened a new store or office? Your money is better spent on time with your child, on his or her education, or on a future vacation. You two can’t possibly know the future, but you can understand child custody rights. Custody can be:

• Sole
• Joint
• Joint legal
• Joint physical
• Third-party

Child Custody After Divorce in Florida

If one parent has sole custody, the custodial parent makes all legal decisions for your child. The noncustodial parent pays financial support and has specified visitation days and hours with your child. Joint custody allows your child to live with each parent and enjoy all the opportunities each parent provides, but one parent may spend more hours with the child than the other. Joint legal custody allows both parents to make decisions for the children regarding their education, religion, medical care, and choice of friends. Joint physical custody gives both parents equal time with the child. Third-party custody is typically given to a family member. A grandparent can be granted child custody rights if a parent is unfit or died after divorce in Florida. A custodial grandparent needs financial support and medical benefits for the child.

Relocation by Consent

Relocation by consent after divorce in Florida requires the moving parent to obtain the signed consent of all the people entitled to access to the child. The new agreement must be ratified by the court, but a hearing is not necessary. The new agreement must include a new time-sharing schedule and clarify how the children will travel from parent to parent to satisfy the new agreement.

Relocation by Petition

If the relocating parent is unable to get an agreed relocation order, that parent creates and files a petition to relocate in Florida Circuit Court. Every parent, stepparent, grandparent, and guardian involved must be served with a copy of the petition. The petition, signed under oath, must state the physical address of the intended residence and its mailing address, telephone number, and the date of the relocation. If employment is the reason you’re relocating, your job offer is within the petition. The petition must end with a statement in capital letters telling those opposed how to object to the relocation petition.

Objection to Relocation

A parent has 20 days to respond when served with a petition to relocate after divorce in Florida. If you do not file a timely response, the court can order the relocation plan without a hearing. Our child custody rights lawyer in Florida is a trustworthy mediator who can skillfully find creative solutions to your relocation dilemma. Our attorney is also a fierce litigator always ready to go to court to object to the other parent’s relocation with your child. A hearing will be scheduled in 30 days after receipt of your petition to object with a trial in 90 days. The court can reject your objection or the relocation plan itself if either petition does not contain all the facts required by Florida law.

Your objection must be factual. Clearly show your involvement with your child, your contribution to your child’s support, and state how relocation is likely to effect your child. For example, your son is doing well in school, just joined a soccer team, and doesn’t want to leave his half-brother and his friends. The judge will consider your child’s age. If your child is 14 years old or older, the judge may let your child decide where he or she wants to live. Judges keep siblings together for emotional support.

Biological Fathers

In Trimble v. Gordon, 430 U.S. 762 (1977), the United States Supreme Court ruled that state courts can rule that a man other than your child’s biological father is your child’s dad. Competing presumptions in a highly contested custody case have been won either way. The Uniform Parentage Act gives equal rights to unmarried parents regardless of one parent’s divorce in Florida. DNA and blood tests determine whether a man is a child’s father with 100% accuracy. Our family lawyer in Florida may be able to help you gain a relationship with your child if his or her mother is relocating. A biological parent who never visited his or her child may have no child custody rights or a claim with merit. If you’re the noncustodial parent, you need to stay in your child’s life because you can lose your child custody rights after divorce in Florida.

Modification of Existing Custody Order

Substance abuse and domestic violence are grounds for a custody hearing after divorce in Florida. If you got arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol with your kids in the car, our family conflict lawyer in Florida can help with a domestic order of protection against the at-fault party for the children. Good people make mistakes they later regret. If you’re truly sorry, consider your business and your reputation. Your children need the financial support of both parents. Our family lawyer in Florida may be able to help you negotiate a positive outcome after your conviction.

Relocating Without Consent

If you move more than 50 miles away from home with your child without a new custody order and time sharing plan, our family law attorney can try to help you avoid contempt of court proceedings. You can be ordered to return the child or face sanctions during the modification of your parenting or time-sharing plan. Our child custody lawyer in Florida can help you if you have relocated with your child without consent of the court.

The court considers the child’s age and current needs. How will the relocation impact the child’s development? Will the relocation improve the child’s future? Are both parents current and participating in their obligations to their child after divorce in Florida?

Law Office of Erin Morse

Call our child custody rights attorney to discuss relocating with a child after divorce in our conveniently located Orlando, Florida, law office. Our family law attorney devotes her entire practice to family law: divorce, child custody, child support, military divorce, modifications, paternity, parental time-sharing and visitation. She’ll help you negotiate a brighter future. Our family law lawyer in Florida can also serve as a guardian ad Litem in a contested custody case.

Understanding Types Of Alimony

Alimony is also called spousal support or maintenance. It is a concept that allows a spouse with superior financial resources to support a former spouse up to the point that they can support themselves. It is also meant to ensure that each spouse maintains their former life status after a divorce. Alimony may either be awarded as a lumpsum, by monthly installments, or by combining the two options. Awards for maintenance require compelling arguments that prove that a spouse requires financial support to either support their former living standards or to help them get on their feet. It is advisable to hire a divorce lawyer to help make a strong case that ends in an order for alimony. Here is some basic information about the types of alimony in Florida and the circumstances under which each of them is awarded.

According to Florida Law, spousal support is awarded under the following circumstances:

  • To even the gap between a spouse with superior financial resources and one with meager financial resources
  • To be rehabilitative
  • To help a person become financially independent

Types of Alimony

Alimony in Florida is not the same as punitive damages. While punitive damages are meant to punish the wrong doer, alimony ensures that both parties in divorce get a fair ruling in terms of financial well being. It is a means of recognizing that one spouse has more skills and resources than the other and is much able to support themselves going forward. The court’s judgment on alimony in Florida is based on the length of the marriage.

Marriages can be classified as follows:

  • Short-term – A marriage that does not last beyond seven years
  • Moderate-term – A marriage that lasts for 7-17 years
  • Long-term marriages – A marriage that lasts beyond seventeen years

Temporary Alimony

This type of spousal support is awarded during divorce proceedings. It is also called alimony pendent lite. Temporary alimony is terminated once the court grants a divorce decree and replaced by any of the other types of alimony in Florida.

Rehabilitative Alimony

When a spouse wants to pursue vocational skills training or an education program so they can get employment and be self-sufficient, the court awards them rehabilitative alimony. Rehabilitative alimony is awarded based on a specific plan. The court will give the order of rehabilitative spousal support by the duration of the program, associated costs, the period that spouse will be working as an apprentice, and the time required for the spouse to become self-sufficient. However, a spouse paying or receiving the alimony requests for a modification of the order on the grounds of a change in circumstances or where the receiving spouse deviates from the plan. Unlike other alimony awards, rehabilitative alimony in Florida does not end with the death of the receiving or paying a spouse or when the receiving spouse remarries.

Durational Alimony

In cases involving short or moderate-term marriages, the court may order for durational spousal support. This type of alimony in Florida comes as a fixed amount spanning over a set period that does not exceed the duration of the marriage. For example, if the couple seeking divorce lived together for two years, the durational alimony should not exceed two years. However, if there is a significant change in circumstances, the court may allow for a modification of the award. The modification only applies to the amount of alimony and not the duration of the award. Durational alimony in Florida ends when either the receiving or paying spouse dies or if the receiving spouse marries someone else.

Bridge-the-gap Alimony

This award helps the spouse move from being married to living as a single person. It helps allocate the funds that cater to identifiable and foreseeable bills that help one start a new life without a spouse. Bridge-the-gap alimony in Florida ends when either the paying or receiving spouse dies or if the spouse receiving remarries.

Permanent Alimony

This type of alimony in Florida is given for moderate and long-term marriages. However, under special circumstances, it may be awarded for short term marriages. Permanent spousal support will be granted if a spouse cannot achieve the living standards of the marriage in terms of basic needs or life necessities. Before granting permanent alimony, the court will consider the life of the couple during the marriage. A person who is used to a lavish lifestyle will be awarded spousal support that helps them live up to a similar lifestyle after they get divorced. The court may modify permanent spousal support if there is a change in circumstances or where the receiving spouse gets into a relationship where they are receiving support from someone other than a relative. Like many of the other types of alimony in Florida, permanent alimony ends when either the paying or receiving spouse dies or if the receiving spouse remarries.

Factors Affecting Alimony Awards

The court usually frowns upon adultery and will review the circumstances leading to adultery when awarding alimony in Florida. Therefore, for spouses who have committed adultery, there is the need to hire an experienced divorce lawyer to improve the chances of getting an award for alimony. Generally, the court usually considers the following financial matters before granting alimony. This includes:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • The living standards that the couple enjoyed during their marriage
  • The age of both the receiving and paying spouse and any emotional or physical impairments that may affect their economic needs and ability to make a living
  • The marital and non-marital assets of both parties and the debts incurred during the marriage
  • The need for career training or education for any of the spouses to get employment and be in a position to support themselves
  • The contributions that each spouse made during the marriage including; child care, homemaking, salary, financial contributions, supporting a spouse in their education bills, or assisting a spouse in building a business or pursue a career

The Importance of Hiring a Divorce Lawyer

There is no telling how a divorce case will turn out. In most cases, the terms of a divorce will usually favor one party. This is the case if one spouse is found guilty of adultery or where one spouse has superior financial resources. Most people hire a divorce lawyer to improve their chances of a fair ruling after a divorce. A divorce lawyer is involved in much more than litigation and will ensure his/her client gets a fair ruling on alimony. Some of the roles played by a divorce lawyer include:

  • Submitting the divorce case in court
  • Serving spouses with divorce papers
  • Reviewing the facts of the case and building a strong case for clients
  • Pushing for a suitable alimony award
  • Negotiating in settlements before a case goes to trial
  • Representing the client in court and pushing for fair terms of divorce including alimony and child support

The outcome of a divorce case, including the terms of the divorce such as alimony, is dependent on each spouse’s legal representation. It is the job of the divorce lawyer to build a strong case that justifies the award for alimony among other conditions.

The Quickest And Easiest Way To Get In Control Of Your Child Custody Issues

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3 Things Happy Couples Do That You Should Too

There are many reasons why relationships work or don’t work for the individuals involved. Making relationships work requires more than just pointing the finger, but also taking accountability for each person’s part in whatever relationship problems persist. There are several happy relationships to model after, using their ‘secrets’ to being in a successful relationship. However, if there are issues that are going unnoticed, there are remedies to help bring these concerns to the surface and also provide a resolution. Also, if there aren’t any current relationship problems, people can benefit from knowing how to prevent future dilemmas and improve their confidence in their union.

Couples Therapy

There’s been quite some controversy on the effectiveness of couples therapy when it comes to healing relationship problems. Some people go into these sessions with the intent of making their relationships work, but end up realizing that it’s probably best to split. In fact, some studies report that up to 38 percent of couples who receive marriage counseling get divorced within 4 years of finishing therapy. This is not to say that the counseling is ineffective because it is also important to note that research done by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists shows that 97 percent of families and couples who have attended family and couples therapy session said that they received the help that they needed (Tasker, n.d.).

A huge reason why couples therapy is unsuccessful for some couples is that they use it as the final resort. When some individuals choose to try couples therapy, it is not necessarily about how to make relationships work. Instead, it is to see if their relationship can survive the months and many times years of unaddressed dissatisfaction and/or traumas. Therapy doesn’t and shouldn’t be an option someone considers after exhausting all of their choices. It is proven to be very beneficial as it allows a specialist who is qualified to manage the complex relationship dynamics and tackle individual issues. In many cases, a couple may take their arguments to a family member or friend which results in a very biased interaction in many cases. Having a mediator and outside perspective from someone who holds no preconceived biases can offer the couple the objective and critical advice needed to improve their communication.

When looking for a specialist, both individuals should make sure that they both find a therapist that they can agree upon and resonate with. Couples therapy should be utilized at the beginning of a relationship to build an understand and establish a healthy foundation of communication between the two parties involved. One person may be predisposed to walking away during a heated argument, whilst the other just wants to talk immediately. A couples therapist can help create standards and boundaries for future arguments so that communication improves to prevent any plausible long-term resentment or discontentment. Be mindful that therapy doesn’t need to be frequent, but consistent.

Small Romantic Gestures

There is the idea that after a couple surpasses the ‘honeymoon phase’ of their initial relationship, everything seems to mellow out and become dull. For some reason, it’s very common that after a few years of involvement, happy couples grow a bit distant of each other. When a couple first gets together, there is usually this concept of courting where there are endless dates, long conversations on the phone, romantic weekends, and intimate gifts. The overall cadence of a new relationship brings forth new and refreshing energies. This doesn’t have to stop as couples progress through their engagement. Small romantic gestures are one of the many traits that produce and maintain happy relationships. Small romantic gestures that are consistent demonstrates a continued commitment to the partnership(Verdolin, 2015). Romance shouldn’t just be reserved for Valentine’s day or rare occasions. Instead, in making relationships work and prosper, couples can do small, everyday actions to show their appreciation and love to their partner.

Types of romantic gestures:

  • Dancing (attending a concert or a workshop)
  • Help carry bags to show one another appreciation and cooperation
  • Massages after a long day at work to display appreciation
  • Exchange gifts (something that is personal to them)
  • Hold hands in public as a symbol of appreciation and reassurance
  • Give compliments to each other
  • Prioritize time together by arranging a date or movie night

Maintain Identity

As mentioned above, during the honeymoon phase, many happy couples can’t resist but to be around each other constantly. At first, it can be an overall exciting and intimate experience. However, as time passes, these happy relationships undergo a bit of exhaustion and the two parties want their space. Too much of anything is not healthy. In fact, there are plenty of happy couples that have their own rooms. When sharing a space with someone every day, it doesn’t give a person much room to be alone with their thoughts. Everywhere they turn, they likely see this person which can be especially problematic after an intense argument or disagreement. Lack of personal space can lead to feeling fatigued, feeling overwhelmed, and/or feeling trapped. Making relationships work does require communication, but communication is not needed at all times. Sometimes making relationships work demands a little distance to look at the relationship problems from afar.

It is not just emotional space that is necessary, but physical space is also significant in providing a sense of independence for both which allows the relationship to grow and flourish. If the relationship is based on ‘completing each other’, then that is called codependence which stunts growth and is also called meshment (Kim, 2018). To make relationships work, it is important to have a healthy perspective on self-love and acceptance which requires a person to become a whole piece themselves instead of seeking their ‘other half’. Happy couples understand the magnitude of self-love. Too often people hold the belief that someone outside of themselves is supposed to complete them and in pursuing that ideal, they find themselves filling a void with people who carry many of the same traits that they were familiar with since childhood. These partners that they attract can exhibit dysfunction, but because it is so familiar, the individual subconsciously repeats the same ‘cycle’ of trauma. Being conscientious of oneself as well as knowing one’s personal boundaries within as a singular person is highly recommended in making relationships work prior to being in the union to ensure the partnership is genuine.

Happy relationships do take conscious effort and a little compromise. Making relationships work, however, doesn’t mean that someone compromises themselves or their independence. It’s okay to maintain individualism within the partnership while also reassuring the partner through romantic actions. Making relationships work means not just being honest with each other but with one’s self. If a person is unaware of what they want out of the relationship, it can result in a host of problems. Chemistry doesn’t equate to compatibility one must be sure of their own interests and standards in making relationships work effectively. By emulating the traits of people in happy partnership, both people will find how easy it is in making relationships work in their favor with little to no tension and a lot of love, understanding, and empathy.

As much as we want your relationship to workout, sometimes divorce IS the right answer.

Contact us to schedule a FREE Consultation with Attorney Morse over the phone.
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The Challenges You Might Face With Filing A Divorce In Florida

Divorce in Florida can be a necessary process in many instances. Marriages often end because one or both partners is truly unhappy. It can lock people into unhealthy or abusive relationships because of societal and financial connections. For these and other individuals, divorce is the option that they pursue for their Florida marriage. But divorce is not an easy process in Florida or any other state. Individuals have to spend months of effort and sometimes thousands of dollars finalizing a divorce. This process can be arduous even for people interested in an uncontested divorce.

Fees

Divorce of all kinds can be costly. The costs are prominent for both kinds of divorce. The two main kinds of divorce in Florida are a contested and an uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, both parties have mutually agreed upon the particulars of their divorce. They have decided the fate of their house and how they will split all of their assets. A contested divorce is one where both parties will instead rely on judges and lawyers to dole out their assets and any child custody arrangements. An uncontested divorce still costs money.

Couples in Florida without minor or dependent children can file a simple divorce and end their marriage after paying several hundred dollars. These individuals still have to appear in court for the final hearing and may have to spend money selling a home or splitting other assets. A contested divorce, or an uncontested divorce with minor children involved, takes a considerable amount of time and effort from both parties.

These fees can be difficult for millions of Floridians to handle. Divorce is an expensive process that is piled onto all of the other expenses that an individual already has to pay for. 1/5th of all Americans do not have any money in their savings accounts. For many of these individuals, even the cost of a simple divorce fee can force them into debt. The time required for divorce also creates an expense that many people simply do not know how to handle. Many individuals cannot simply take off of work during the week in order to appear at hearings and meet with judges. Such problems are amplified considerably if one party in a divorce is particularly belligerent.

Time

One understated challenge of a divorce in Florida is the time that the process takes to complete. Many individuals in Florida who have decided on divorce have most likely spent months or years attempting to save their marriage. But they still have to wait even longer once they apply for divorce. An uncontested divorce in Florida can take a few months. This divorce is “no-fault” and does not require a finding for either party.

But a contested divorce can take a considerable amount of time. There are numerous waiting periods and legal deadlines that both parties have to meet. There is a court-imposed period of mediation where both sides attempt to hammer out their differences between their attorneys. Then, there may be a trial that may take several months or even years. Cases can be delayed and motions can be filed almost endlessly. All of this time means more money that has to be paid to the lawyers involved.

The Process Of Contested Divorce

Uncontested divorce is challenging enough as it is. But contested divorce can be significantly more difficult. In a contested divorce, both sides begin by contacting their attorneys and filing paperwork. They contact a judge and receive temporary orders that decide on the state of assets and child custody while the case is ongoing. Then, the case goes through mediation. Both sides and their attorneys meet with a mediator who is trained on how to achieve a compromise that is well-respected by both parties. The process of mediation is followed by a legal case where both sides present their arguments on divorce disputes to a judge. These individuals go through the discovery process where evidence is collected. A deposition is taken from both parties where they cannot lie under penalty of perjury.

What To Do

Anyone looking to overcome the challenges of divorce in Florida needs to keep a few aspects of the process in mind. First, they need to show that they have gone through every reasonable step possible in order to save their marriage. An uncontested divorce in Florida needs to be pursued in many cases. While divorces in the case of abuse are often quickly processed by the courts on the side of the victim, other divorces are much less clear-cut. When abuse or neglect are not concerns, individuals need to be able to prove to their attorney and a judge that they did as much as they possibly could for their marriage.

Individuals also need to make sure that they are careful with their actions and their interactions with their former partner. Any negative communications with a former partner can result in potential problems or evidence later on in the divorce in Florida process. Finally, individuals need to contact an attorney early on in the process. Attorneys like those at the Erin Morse Law Firm often have years of experience and a wealth of advice on how an individual should handle the divorce in Florida process. They know what individuals must due in order to secure the best deal possible from their particular divorce circumstances.

Conclusion

Divorce in Florida can be a painful, time-consuming process that ranks as one of the most difficult periods of any individual’s life. The difficulty of this process is one of the reasons why many couples go through the extra effort of marriage counseling. Florida has created incentives for individuals to stay in the legal union of marriage and attempt to work out whatever issues have arisen in their marriage. When this process still fails, individuals have to enlist the help of an attorney at a group like the Erin Morse Law Firm. Attorneys will serve as advocates and go through a rigorous work process in order to help individuals with their divorce in Florida cases. An attorney is often the main reason most individuals can make a divorce work to the mutual satisfaction of both parties.

The Quickest And Easiest Way To Get In Control Divorce

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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.

The Quickest And Easiest Way To Get In Control Of Your Divorce

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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.

The Quickest And Easiest Way To Get In Control Of Your Divorce

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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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