Family Law FAQ
How long does it take to conclude my divorce?
There are several factors that affect the length of time necessary for a divorce, including but not limited to whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. The length of time to conclude a divorce also depends on whether there are any children common to the marriage or if the parties own real property. The presence of real property and children increase the complexity and amount of issues you and your spouse must agree on. You and your spouse have complete control over the length of time it takes, depending on your desire to resolve the issues and willingness to reach an agreement on the issues.
Another important factor is where the divorce is filed. Generally, venue is proper in the county where the parties last resided as husband and wife; however, there are some exceptions. Time delays vary from county to county and there is no control over the Judges’ availability in the event a hearing is required.
Should I move out of the marital home?
If you or the children are in danger it is of high importance to contact your local law enforcement agency or file a domestic violence injunction. If children are involved and custody (timesharing) is an issue, you should speak with an attorney prior to moving out of the home because the parent who remains in the home may have an advantage when the Court makes its temporary and final determination regarding the principal care and residence of the children.
How is child support determined?
The State of Florida uses a standard Child Support Guidelines to determine the amount of child support each party owed. The final number is based on the net incomes of both spouses and the number of children common to the marriage. One parent may receive a reduction in child support if he/she spends a substantially larger amount of time with the children than the typical time sharing arrangement assumes. There are other factors which may determine a reduction in child support. The court may consider modifying child support agreements when a significant change in financial circumstances occurs. Loss or a drastic reduction of the non-custodial parent’s income may constitute such a change, as would a sudden increase in the custodial spouse’s income.
Can I relocate with my children after the divorce?
The State of Florida prohibits relocating minor child(ren) more than 50 miles away from their principal residence, unless the new residence is less than 50 miles from the other parent, without the written consent of the other parent or a court order. If you wish to relocate with the child(ren) and the other parent objects, you must follow specific steps required by law. The court must approve the relocation before you are allowed to move the children.
Can the amount of child support change if I lose my job?
The court will consider modifying child support agreements but there must be a significant change in financial circumstances. An extreme reduction or loss of the non-custodial parent’s income may constitute a change as would an increase in the custodial spouse’s income.
How to I get temporary support until the final hearing?
You can seek a temporary order from the court for child support, alimony, or a parenting plan prior to the final hearing.
Can I modify the parenting plan?
A parenting plan, or a time-sharing schedule may not be modified by the court without a showing of a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances and a determination that the modification is in the best interest of the child(ren). A change in circumstances must occur after the final judgment establishing a parenting plan or time sharing schedule. Facts that were unforeseen at the time of the judgment can form the basis for a finding of a change of circumstances.
However, a parenting plan or time sharing schedule usually may be modified by agreement of the parties. Should the parties agree to such modification, the stipulations should be reduced to writing, and the agreement should be filed with the Court and submitted to the judge presiding over the case for approval. Although the Court generally ratifies the parties’ agreements and incorporates said agreement in a court order or final judgment, in rare cases, approval can be withheld if the agreement is not in the best interest of the child.
How do I determine what property I will get to keep during a divorce?
The parties may choose to make the decisions about dividing property and debts on their own before or during the divorce process. If the couple cannot come to a decision on the division of assets on their own, a mediator may be brought in to help with the process, or the court may be asked to help if a dispute arises.
If you have other questions about Florida divorce, child support or any other family law proceeding, we have answers. Marcie L. Baker has practiced law for 18 years, the last 11 at her location in Zephyrhills, Fl. Contact us today by calling (813) 929-1900 or by filling out our online form.