Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce
Whether you are contemplating divorce or your estranged spouse has started the process, it is vital to understand your options before you commit to a course of action. Since 2001, Carol Joyce Solomon, P.A. Attorney at Law, has provided cutting-edge legal counsel to Broward County and Palm Beach County residents who are confronting serious family law matters.
We invite you to read our firm’s answers to commonly asked divorce questions. Then, contact our Coral Springs office at 954-255-5333 to schedule your free 30-minute consultation today.
What grounds for divorce are available in Florida?
Generally, there is only one type of divorce ground in Florida: no-fault, when the marriage is irretrievably broken. Though under some, rare circumstances, annulment and other types of divorce exist such as when a spouse has been adjudicated as incompetent and a certain amount of time has passed since the adjudication, Florida is a no-fault state.
Adultery — Though Florida does not recognize adultery, per se. The court does consider dissipation of marital assets and income on a lover when calculating the overall equitable distribution scheme. Adultery may also play a role in timesharing, depending on the specific facts of the case as applied to the law.
What is a contested divorce?
In general, a “contested” divorce is any divorce in which there is a disagreement over a significant issue, or significant issues, such as alimony or timesharing. The parties may be filing for a “no-fault” divorce and still be in disagreement about the division of property, custody of the children, spousal support, child support, visitation or a multitude of other issues. If there is any disagreement about these types of matters, the divorce is contested. Often, these issues can be worked out between attorneys, with a marital settlement agreement or in mediation. However, if they are not resolved, the parties generally have a contested divorce that may end in a trial. When a trial is necessary, a divorce will take longer and cost more than an uncontested divorce.
How long does it take to get a divorce?
Generally, an uncontested divorce takes only a few weeks when both parties timely enter into a marital settlement agreement and parenting plan (when children are involved), and complete and execute the necessary Petition Answer, and Waiver, and all other documents, such as financial affidavits, that must be completed and filed prior to the final hearing. The person filing for the divorce (the petitioner) is often the only party who must be present at the final hearing unless the other spouse is the wife, and she is returning to her maiden or prior married last name, in which case she must be present at the final hearing to give testimony as to the name change.
What is an “Answer” in an Uncontested Divorce case?
An answer is a document that states that the Respondent spouse (the one NOT filing the divorce) agrees with all the statements in the Petition.
What is a “Waiver” in an Uncontested Divorce case?
A waiver is a document that essentially waives the 20-day waiting period provided by Florida law for a spouse to answer and/or file a Counter Petition to, the dissolution of marriage Petition. In Uncontested Divorce matters, the person signing the waiver agrees to waive the time constraints and service of process so the divorce case can proceed quickly to final hearing.
How can equitable distribution guidelines affect my agreement?
Although divorcing couples must follow equitable distribution guidelines when dividing property, assets and debt, what is determined to be equitable may not always result in a 50-50 split. There are a variety of factors that affect the agreement a Florida judge will approve. Marital property can be distributed, but other types of property, such as separate property, cannot. In addition, some property can be considered part separate and part marital, which requires extensive legal understanding to assess.