Divorce, or dissolution of marriage, can be painful and draining for both spouses. Decisions made during divorce proceedings may be major. They may affect family members far into the future. Often, courts make decisions about property distribution, alimony, child custody, and child support during divorce proceedings. If you are concerned about a divorce, you should discuss your situation with Jacksonville divorce lawyer Kevin M. Cobbin.Divorce
In Florida, you do not need to establish fault as a basis for dissolving a marriage. Instead, in order to divorce, either spouse will need to show: (1) there is a marriage, (2) either spouse has been a resident of Florida for the six months immediately before the petition was filed, and (3) the marriage is irretrievably broken. The reason for the irretrievable breakdown may be considered when the court determines other issues, such as the equitable distribution of debts and marital assets. If one spouse perpetrated domestic violence that led to the divorce, this could influence a child custody dispute.
In some cases, a premarital agreement will determine property distribution and spousal support. With the help of experienced attorneys, the spouses may be able to reach a divorce settlement, which they can then present to the judge. When the spouses are not able to reach an agreement on one or more issues, the court may need to decide for them.
A simplified procedure for divorce is available for some couples. You can use a simplified divorce if you have no minor children, neither spouse is pregnant, you meet the residency requirement, neither spouse wants alimony, you have agreed on the division of all assets and debts, and you agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken. A divorce attorney in Jacksonville can help you explore this option. If you do not meet these requirements, you will need to go through regular divorce proceedings.Property Distribution
Marital assets include all the assets and income acquired in the course of a marriage, whether income, bank accounts, or real estate. Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means that the marital property needs to be divided fairly, but not necessarily 50/50. Separate assets include any assets owned prior to the marriage, inheritances received during the marriage, gifts, and items that are bought or exchanged with separate property.
Various factors are considered when dividing marital assets. Judges or arbitrators will consider what each spouse contributed to the marriage, whether either spouse contributed as a homemaker, how long the marriage lasted, whether either spouse’s career or education was interrupted, whether one spouse contributed to the other’s education or career, and any intentional waste of marital assets.Child Custody
When there are children involved in a divorce, there may be disagreements about how the children should be raised and what an appropriate parenting plan might be. It may be possible to reach a custody agreement through negotiation or mediation, potentially with the assistance of a Jacksonville divorce attorney. Florida courts order mediation in child custody cases that do not involve domestic violence.
The court will need to approve the plan. It will make its decision about custody by looking at the best interests of the child. Statutory factors to be considered include the capacity of each parent to facilitate a continuing relationship between the child and the other parent, the ability of each parent to make decisions based on a child’s needs rather than his or her own needs, the viability of a parenting plan, the parents’ moral fitness, the parents’ mental and physical health, the child’s community record, each parent’s ability to be informed about the child’s circumstances, and possibly the child’s preference.
Generally, Florida courts try to make sure that minor children have frequent, continuing contact with both of their parents after separation or dissolution. It is rare for a court to order that a parent have sole parental responsibility.Consult a Dedicated Divorce Lawyer in Jacksonville
If you are filing for divorce or responding to a divorce petition, you should consult family law attorney Kevin M. Cobbin. He represents people getting a divorce throughout Duval County and the surrounding areas. Call him at (904) 357-8448 or complete our online form.