Even under the best of circumstances, divorce can be a challenging experience for a family. In most cases, couples disagree on one or more critical issues. While child support is usually determined by Florida state guidelines, property distribution, alimony, and child custody are often hotly contested. In some cases, it is possible for couples to reach a settlement through mediation or negotiation, while in other cases it is necessary to go to trial. At the Martin Law Firm, our Cape Coral divorce lawyers can help you reach a settlement when possible or provide aggressive representation at trial when necessary. In either of these situations, enlisting the representation of a family law attorney is an important step to take in protecting your interests. Our firm treats its clients like family, tailoring our representation to their personal needs and goals.Filing for Divorce in Florida
Either your spouse or you must be a legal resident of Florida for at least six months before divorcing in the state. A court is allowed to enter a final divorce judgment as soon as 20 days after you file the divorce petition, but if you can prove it would be unfair to wait those 20 days, a divorce may be obtained even sooner. However, if there are a number of contested issues, it is likely to take longer.
Florida allows married couples to file for a no-fault divorce. This means that you will not need to prove that your spouse was at fault in order to divorce. Either spouse may file on the grounds that their marriage is irretrievably broken or that one spouse has suffered mental incapacitation lasting three years. However, the court may consider fault as a factor when distributing property between the spouses or awarding alimony to a spouse.
Florida property division occurs on an equitable distribution basis. Although the court assumes the property will be divided equally, it can change the distribution based on principles of fairness as applied to the particular facts. Factors that can be considered when distributing property include the economic circumstances of each spouse, how long the marriage lasted, what each spouse contributed to the marriage, and the children's best interests in connection with the marital home. Rather than leave this issue up to the courts, the spouses can try to reach a settlement. Often, this is best accomplished with the help of divorce attorneys in the Cape Coral area who understand the relevant law and how a court is likely to view the facts of the case.
Another important issue for couples with children is child custody. Like courts in many other states, Florida courts look at the children's best interests when determining how parents will share time and responsibilities related to the children after the divorce. In Florida, parental responsibility or custody may be shared, or shared with ultimate decision-making awarded to one parent, or held solely by one parent. It is presumed that a child should have frequent contact with both parents after the divorce, and when possible, joint custody with shared parental responsibility is granted. Generally, the court will consider this an appropriate arrangement if the parents can effectively communicate with each other about their kids without court intervention.
In some cases, alimony or spousal support is appropriate to give financial assistance to a spouse with fewer financial resources. Alimony is awarded when there is a need for financial assistance and the other spouse is able to pay alimony. Alimony is not automatically awarded through a formula, as child support is.Consult a Divorce Lawyer in Cape Coral
If you are considering filing for divorce, you may need a child custody attorney or guidance on issues related to alimony, child support, or property division. The experienced Cape Coral divorce attorneys at the Martin Law Firm are ready to help you. Contact us toll-free at (844) 465-4357 or via our online form to set up a consultation.