What Am I Entitled to in a Divorce in Florida?
Divorce can be a challenging and emotionally exhausting process, and one of the most common concerns during this time is understanding what you are entitled to. Each state has its own specific laws and regulations regarding divorce, and Florida is no exception. If you are going through a divorce in Florida, here is a guide to help you understand what you may be entitled to.
1. Property Division:
Florida follows the principle of equitable distribution, which means that marital property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Marital property includes assets and debts acquired during the marriage. Non-marital property, such as assets acquired before the marriage or through inheritance, is typically not subject to distribution.
Alimony, also known as spousal support, may be awarded in a divorce case based on several factors, including the duration of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, and the financial resources of each party. The court will consider the need and ability to pay when determining the amount and duration of alimony.
3. Child Custody:
In Florida, the court encourages shared parental responsibility, unless it is found to be detrimental to the child. The best interests of the child are the primary consideration when determining custody arrangements. Factors such as the child’s preference, parental ability to provide a stable environment, and parental involvement in the child’s life are taken into account.
4. Child Support:
Both parents have a legal obligation to support their children financially. Child support is calculated based on the parents’ income, the number of children, and the time-sharing arrangement. Florida has guidelines in place to determine the appropriate amount of child support, which can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances.
5. Retirement Accounts and Investments:
Retirement accounts, pensions, and investments acquired during the marriage are typically considered marital property and subject to equitable distribution. The court may order a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to divide retirement accounts and ensure the proper distribution of benefits.
6. Personal Belongings:
Personal belongings, such as clothing, jewelry, and personal items, are generally considered separate property and not subject to division. However, if certain items have significant value, they may be considered marital property and subject to distribution.
Debts acquired during the marriage are typically treated as marital debts and divided between the parties. This includes mortgages, credit card debt, and loans. The court will consider the financial ability of each party to pay the debts when making a distribution.
8. Insurance and Healthcare:
After a divorce, each party is responsible for obtaining their own health insurance coverage. In some cases, the court may require one party to maintain life insurance to secure alimony or child support obligations.
9. Legal Fees:
In Florida, each party is responsible for their own legal fees unless one party can prove a need for financial assistance. The court may order one party to contribute to the other party’s attorney fees if there is a significant difference in income or resources.
1. Can I keep my separate property in a divorce?
Yes, separate property is typically not subject to division in a divorce. However, it is important to properly identify and separate your separate property from marital property.
2. How is child custody determined in Florida?
Child custody is determined based on the best interests of the child, taking into consideration various factors such as parental involvement, stability, and the child’s preferences.
3. How is alimony calculated?
Alimony is calculated based on several factors, including the duration of the marriage, the standard of living, and the financial resources of each party.
4. Can child support be modified?
Yes, child support can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income or the child’s needs.
5. What happens to retirement accounts in a divorce?
Retirement accounts acquired during the marriage are typically subject to equitable distribution, and a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) may be used to divide the accounts.
6. Who is responsible for debts in a divorce?
Marital debts are typically divided between the parties based on their financial ability to pay.
7. Do I need to maintain life insurance after a divorce?
In some cases, the court may require one party to maintain life insurance to secure alimony or child support obligations.
8. Can I ask the court to make my spouse pay for my attorney fees?
Each party is typically responsible for their own legal fees, but the court may order one party to contribute to the other party’s attorney fees if there is a significant difference in income or resources.
9. Can I modify custody arrangements later on?
Yes, custody arrangements can be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances that warrants a modification in the best interests of the child.
Understanding what you are entitled to in a divorce can help you navigate the process more effectively. However, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific situation.