Marriage, Divorce and Child Custody

Florida is a no-fault divorce state.  That means that neither marriage partner must prove that the other party wronged them in some fashion to divorce and end a marriage.  Even so, divorce can be complicated requiring legal advice.

Premarital/Postmarital Agreement

We assist client plan for marriage and the unexpected, through the use of premarital and postmarital agreements.  These agreements help the couple to understand what will happen to their assets and other important matters should a divorce occur.

Uncontested Divorce

When a married couple decides to get a divorce, and agree on the material issues common in divorces such as child custody and support arrangements, property distributions and spousal support, filing for an uncontested divorce is a great option. Uncontested divorces may also be granted more quickly than contested divorces. The general idea is that where there are fewer terms to be disputed, there will be less conflict and a better chance for couple to move on with their separate lives more quickly. This can save both parties time and money.

Pugh Law is here to help you with the required legal components for uncontested divorce such as preparing and filing the documents, communicating with the court, arranging and representing you at the final hearing, and obtaining final court orders.

Alimony

When a married couple decide to get a divorce, the court may award alimony or spousal support to one of the divorcing couple. Alimony may be determined either by court order or by an agreement between the couple. The purpose of alimony is to limit the amount of financial burden that the divorce has placed on either spouse, by providing a continuing income to a non-wage-earning or lower-wage-earning spouse. Reasoning for alimony can include such things as that the spouse might have given up a career to provide support for the family or is too old or ill to re-enter the workforce, and that now that they need to support themselves; they may also need time and resources to begin making a living for themselves.

Child Custody, Visitation and Support

Child support from the other parent may be provided to the parent who has primary responsibility for the care of the children of the marriage after a divorce.  Florida courts favor parents sharing the responsibility of their children after divorce, except for cases where time-sharing may be harmful to the children, but even those parents who do not have primary responsibility for the care of the children of a marriage after divorce usually have the right to see – visit with – his or her children. The amount of physical time a parent spends with his or her children can have a direct impact on how much financial child support is required. It is important that a shared parenting plan specifically identify how much time the child is to spend with each parent and when. In Florida, child support calculations are based on both parents’ income, the number of children that the parents have together, and the percentage of time each is granted responsibility for the children.

Division of Assets and Debts

The equitable distribution of a couple’s assets and debts after divorce is a major concern in most divorce cases. Factors the courts will often consider when determining how to divide such financial matters include any valid agreements between the parties, the length of the marriage, the financial circumstances of each spouse, each spouse’s contributions and sacrifices for and during the marriage, and any recent instances in which either spouse wasted their assets.

Marital property is property owned by a married couple. This includes all the income earned throughout the duration of the marriage and everything acquired with those earnings. As such, unless a creditor’s intent is to have repayment accrue from one spouse’s separate property, all debts incurred during the marriage by either spouse which typically benefit the marriage are known as marital property debts.

Separate property is property owned by one spouse and not the other. This may be property acquired prior to or during the marriage. This includes, but is not limited to gifts and inheritances given only to that spouse, property acquired by one spouse with the intention to be kept separate from the marriage and that was not to be used to benefit the marriage, earnings from a business owned by one spouse that is kept separate from the marriage, and awards of litigation damages for personal pain and suffering. However, separate property may become community property whenever it is commingled with marital property during the marriage.

Post-Divorce

Because of a change in circumstances after divorce or the failure to comply with the requirements of the divorce, the decisions made during the divorce may have to be reconsidered, either by agreement of the parties to the divorce, usually with the approval of the court, or by the court where the parties cannot agree. Circumstances such as an increase or decrease in income or need, improvement or decline in physical condition of a former spouse, a change in the expected circumstances regarding a child or the failure to provide required visitation may result in reconsideration of the final divorce decree.