Is your marriage is over?

Not many people recite their vows in front of friends and family expecting their marriage will end in divorce.  Over the many years couples can be together, events can create conflict that is sometimes too much for spouses to resolve.  Our office advises individuals contemplating divorce to seek professional or spiritual counseling, or advice from friends and family prior to resorting to divorce.  When one or both spouses decide divorce is the only option for their family, it can be an emotionally charged time that can take several months, if not years, to resolve.  Our office goal is to get your case resolved as quickly and amicably as possible.  Unfortunately, there are a number of concerns spouses and the Court must consider when getting divorced, including: time-sharing, child support, and division of marital assets and liabilities.

Sharing time with your children

The State of Florida encourages parents to work out an amicable time-sharing schedule that is in the best interest of the child(ren).  Parents should sit down and discuss the schedule and maturity of the child(ren) and parents’ availability when considering a time-sharing plan.  Depending on a number of factors, some parenting plans have the child(ren) spending every other week with each parent.  Others are better suited for a 3 day on, 4 day off schedule.  Some work best with a rotating schedule of every other day.  Still others, often due to distance, require time-sharing with one parent during the school year and time-sharing with the other parents on holidays and school breaks.  Try to keep an open mind when discussing a time-sharing schedule and focus on what is best for the child(ren).

Child support

Children cost money to raise.  It’s a simple fact that when you have more members in a household, expenses increase.  Please keep in mind that when you are paying child support to your former spouse, it is not paying them.  It is paying for your child(ren) to be housed, clothed, feed, etc.  Child support is the right of the child(ren) and is based on each parent’s net income, the number of overnights spent with either parent, and credits for the child(ren)’s health/dental insurance, childcare, and non-covered medical expenses.  You can review the formula used to calculate child support at Florida Statute 61.30.

Dividing marital assets and liabilities

Often times couples have spent years commingling their assets and liabilities and trying to save for retirement.  During a marriage couples can build a number of assets together, including but not limited to: the marital home, investment properties, vehicles and vessels, retirement and investment accounts, life insurance, and businesses.  They often also acquire liabilities such as: student loans, credit card debts, mortgages, and judgments. The State of Florida views divorce in a business-like manner.  One spouse may have contributed more financially, however if it was accumulated during the marriage, it is still marital property and needs to be equitably divided.  Seeking informed counsel is essential during this sometimes very complex process.  Once you execute a Marital Settlement Agreement allocating the marital property, it is an enforceable contract.

Spousal support

Depending on the length of the marriage one spouse may be entitled to spousal support or what is also referred to as alimony.  There are a number of types and duration of alimony and many factors are considered when the Court awards it.  Florida Statute 61.08 outlines what the Court may consider when awarding alimony:

(a) The standard of living established during the marriage.
(b) The duration of the marriage.
(c) The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
(d) The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
(e) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.
(f) The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.
(g) The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.
(h) The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.
(i) All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.
(j) Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.

Robertson & Hunter, LLP

(305) 735-4587