William B. White, Esq.
Attorney & Counselor at Law
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Divorce - The Basics
Deciding to divorce is difficult. If you are contemplating the end your marriage, it helps to learn the basics of divorce law. If you conclude that divorce is necessary, it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced Florida family law attorney.
A divorce is a judicial decree by which a valid marriage is dissolved. From a legal standpoint, the divorce process will divide the couple’s assets and debts; determine the future care and custody of their children; and grant each person the legal right to remarry.
What are the Grounds for Divorce
Every state has some form of "no-fault divorce," but the laws vary a great deal from state to state. Generally, a divorce will be granted if one spouse states that the marriage has irretrievably broken or the couple has irreconcilable differences. (Other residency and filing requirements must also be met.) This is different from the past, when only "fault divorces" were available. In a fault divorce, one spouse must allege a martial wrong like adultery or abuse in order to receive a divorce.
In Florida, no-fault divorces are available. An experienced family law attorney can help you determine whether and how to pursue your divorce.
Division of Property in Non-Community Property States
Courts in states that use the non-community property system typically make an equitable division of property between the divorcing spouses. Equitable means fair, rather than necessarily equal. The court makes the decision based on the circumstances of the divorce, the non-financial contributions to the marriage of each spouse and missed academic or career opportunities.
Making the decision to end a marriage is difficult. Even so, it is in your best interest to approach the divorce process from a rational, businesslike perspective. Working with an experienced family law attorney will help you get through the process and begin your new life.
Resolving Issues During Divorce
Before a divorce may be granted, five basic issues typically must be resolved. They are:
Property and debt division
Child custody/Visitation/parenting time
If the spouses can reach agreement on these issues, then the divorce is uncontested. If, however, the spouses cannot agree, the divorce is contested. The spouses may go to trial to resolve the issues. This usually means that a family court judge will make the final decisions.
Alternatives to going to trial include mediation, arbitration and by agreement of the parties.