Florida Family Law
Our family law attorneys are experienced in handling complicated family issues. We take multiple cases to trial each year.
Family law in Florida is a very serious practice as it frequently involves minor children. Attorneys in Florida must always be cognizant of the best interests of minor children and we take this obligation seriously. Prior to engaging our lawyers in Cape Coral practicing in Southwest Florida you must be prepared to honestly consider the best interests of your minor children over yours.
Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in child support and time sharing disputes, dissolution of marriage, custody, parental rights, alimony and prenuptial agreements.Dissolution of Marriage
In Florida family law attorneys use the P.E.A.C.E. acronym to guide them in analysing and presenting their case to the court and the judge also uses this acronym to assist in reaching a ruling in divorce cases.
The letters in the P.E.A.C.E. acronym stand for the following:
Parental Responsibility: Parental responsibility and time sharing of minor children is the first and most important issues for the family law judge to determine. Using the factors laid out in Florida Statute 61.13, the court will determine the nature of parental responsibility over the minor child and establish a time sharing schedule. The best interest of the minor child is what guides the court in reaching its decision and we require our clients to also use this to guide their goals in our representation.
Equitable Distribution: The assets and liabilities of the marital estate are divided equitably by the court. While equitable distribution can mean equal division of the marital estate, sometimes factors are present where an unequal distribution of the assets and liabilities of the marriage is more fair or equitable.
Alimony: Alimony is paid from one former spouse to the other so he or she can maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. This is paid on the basis of need and ability to pay. So, if one former spouse needs a certain amount of money and the other spouse has the ability to pay, then alimony may be available. However, a further consideration is the length of the marriage. Generally, for a marriage that has not lasted more than ten years, permanent alimony will not be ordered as there is a presumption against it. Bridge the gap alimony may instead be awarded with the intention of allowing the recipient spouse to “bridge the gap” from being a married person to a single person. For a marriage lasting from ten to eighteen years, permanent still may not be awarded but there is no presumption for or against it. This is described as a grey area marriage. Finally, for marriages lasting longer than eighteen years, there is a presumption of awarding permanent periodic alimony. However, as described above, just because the marriage length justifies permanent periodic alimony, need and ability to pay must still be established.
Child Support: Child support is paid in Florida using a statutory formula taking into consideration the net monthly income of the parents and the percentage of overnights the minor child spends with each parent.
Everything Else: Here the court considers all other aspects of the dissolution in order to equitably dissolve the marriage.Attorneys Fees in Florida
Attorneys fees in Florida cases can be awarded in family law cases based on the need of the requesting party and the ability to pay of the paying party. This is intended to allow both parties access to counsel of equivalent skill and abilities. So if you are the “breadwinner” spouse, you may be exposed to pay the fees of your spouse who may have a reduced earning ability. Likewise, if your income does not match your spouse, you still may have access to effective counsel by having that spouse ordered to assist in the payment of your legal fees.