Divorces are messy and filled with emotion. Even when you and your spouse have a mutual agreement that you can no longer live together, there are still a number of issues which must be addressed before your marriage is dissolved. There are some things which can make your divorce more complicated or make it easier.
Prenuptial Agreements in Florida
In some cases, couples who have decided to get married prepare a prenuptial agreement. In general, these agreements can include anything which is not in direct violation of the law so long as it is agreed upon by the couple. Some of the common things you will find in a prenuptial agreement may include:
- Property Division Agreement — this is common when one spouse enters a marriage owning a piece of property whether it is a primary residence or a summer home. There may be predetermined agreements specifying what happens to the home in the event of a divorce.
- Spousal Support Clauses — premarital agreements may limit, prohibit, or specify spousal support in the event of a divorce.
- Governing Law — even if a couple is residing in Florida at the time of the agreement, there may be an option to have a prenuptial agreement which is governed under different laws.
If your marriage is coming to an end and you have a prenuptial agreement and you are uncertain about how it will impact your divorce, talk to your family law attorney immediately and provide them with a copy as soon as possible.
Florida Property Division and Equitable Distribution
Property division which is not specific via a prenuptial agreement is handled in a manner known as equitable distribution in Florida. What this means is the court will make a determination of what is fair for both parties — it does not always mean both parties will divide the property equally. Some of the issues which will be considered during the property division portion of a divorce hearing include:
- Spousal contributions — whether a spouse contributes to the household by working outside the home or stays home and cares for the children, each will be considered.
- Spousal financial standing — the courts will also review the financial standing of each partner. If one has a greater earning capacity, they may receive a smaller share of the marital property.
- Spousal benefits plans — if one spouse, or both spouses have retirement plans whether they are vested or not, these plans will be reviewed when making a determination about property division.
- Other factors — other factors including whether one spouse will need the home to keep the children in the home, whether a spouse has been disposing of assets during separation, and how long the marriage has lasted will also play a role in equitable division.
Child Custody and Support Cases in Florida
Whenever there are children in a marriage, the issue of custody and support can further complicate the situation. When parents cannot agree on a reasonable custody and parenting plan, the courts will get involved in determining custody. Courts base these decisions with the best interests of the child in mind. The idea is to create as stable an environment for the child as possible, despite the divorce.
Towards this end, the factors which will be taken into consideration include the parents’ work schedules, their ability to be there for the child, and their individual financial status. Whenever possible, the courts will attempt to split custody of the child, or children, so each parent has an opportunity to spend equal time with the children.
To make a determination regarding child support payments, Florida courts use a system called the Income Share Model. This model takes into consideration the money each parent makes, and specific expenses which are incurred on behalf of the child including health insurance.
Florida Alimony Following Divorce
A court has a lot of discretion when it comes to awarding alimony in Florida. Typically, one factor which plays a role is the length of time a couple was married. In Florida, a short-term marriage is considered to be seven or fewer years, moderate-term marriages are those which last between 7 and 17 years, and long-term marriages are those which last longer than 17 years.
Other factors, are the income of both spouses, and the earning capacity of each spouse. Remember, either spouse may be awarded alimony following a Florida divorce.
If you are considering filing for divorce, or your spouse has informed you they have filed for divorce, do not wait until the last minute. Contact Hardball Law today at 941-807-7555 and get your questions answered immediately so you know what to expect.