When people fall in love and decide to get married, they hope it’s a relationship that will last forever. Unfortunately, every four out of 10 marriages in the U.S. ends in divorce, and Florida ranks in the top 10 for states with the highest divorce rates.
If you and your spouse decide it’s best to part ways, there will be strong emotions involved and concern over your future, especially about who will get custody of the children, and financial issues, such as how you and your spouse will divide assets.
Deciding to end your marriage
While there are many reasons why married people get divorced, Florida is a “no-fault” state, meaning no reason is necessary other than the relationship is broken and cannot be repaired. Another situation where divorce is allowed in Florida is when one spouse is mentally incapacitated for three years.
Once a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage is filed by the petitioner, the respondent can accept or contest the divorce. Florida requires both parties to turn over signed financial affidavits within 45 days of filing, which includes:
- Income figures
- Personal and marital assets
- Debts including loans and credit cards
- Tax returns
- Bank account statements
- Personal finance statements
How is property divided?
Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning a judge will determine a fair distribution of assets based on many factors, including the marriage’s length, financial contributions by both spouses, each spouse’s ability to earn in the future and other considerations. You can’t be sure that you will receive half of the money in a retirement account, but you can argue that you are entitled to as much.
Child support and alimony
A court can order the non-custodial parent to pay support to the former spouse and will consider several factors, including:
- Parent’s ability to pay
- Real and anticipated expenses
- Needs of the child
- Number of children to support
Seek legal advice when considering divorce
Divorce can be an expensive and emotional experience for spouses, even if they agree that it’s the best step for both parties. An experienced family law attorney here in Florida will protect your rights and help you receive the best possible settlement or fight for your rights in court for a contested divorce.