If I have an equal timesharing schedule split 50/50, does that eliminate child support?
Child support is a statutory calculation that is calculated by inputting the incomes of the parties, the child’s health insurance, the child care costs, and the amount of overnight timesharing. Most of the time, a 50/50 still calculates a child support amount, dependent on the other factors of income, health insurance, and child care costs. If all of these factors were equal, then in essence, child support would be zero.
We have decided to waive child support, is that possible?
Child support is for the child and the State of Florida has an interest in making sure the child is cared for. Most counties will not let the parties waive child support or deviate from the calculated amount without some showing of circumstances in which the waiver or deviation is appropriate and in the best interests of the child. In general, child support is not easily waived or changed.
Can I quit my job or lower my income so I don’t have to pay child support and/or alimony?
We use the current incomes of the parties to calculate child support and alimony amounts, however if one party takes a voluntary pay cut, or one party is unemployed, we are able to impute income based off historical income, level of education, and other relevant factors. Thus, if you quit your job, opposing side will likely impute you to that same level of income since you have shown you are capable of making said income. Likewise, an unemployed person will most likely be imputed to at least minimum wage, if not higher based off of their education level and ability to work.
If I move out, am I abandoning the marital home and its value?
In Florida, assets and debts incurred during the marriage are considered marital property, regardless of how they are titled, with some few exceptions. If one party moves out of the home, the home is still considered a marital asset to which you are likely entitled to the equity, and alternatively the liability, of the home. Moving out alone does not waive your interest in the home. If one party solely continues to maintain the home, there may be an argument for the equity growth in the home to be that of the party who has been maintaining the home for that period of time. Still, there is not a total waiver of the value of the home.
How long does it take to finalize my divorce?
Divorce cases are unique. The general process for a divorce case is as follows:
Many cases that settle are completed in about 6-9 months. Cases that go to trial generally take 1-2 years to complete. After the initial formal proceedings and deadlines, the amount of time needed to finalize a divorce case is completely dependent on the actions of the parties, including whether the parties are able to settle their matters
Can I get full custody of my child?
Custody is not a term used in Florida anymore, however the traditional concepts of “custody” are now better described by two-prongs: timesharing and parental responsibility. The first prong timesharing, is the amount of overnight time spent with each parent. Florida Statute 61.13 provides there is no presumption for or against the father or mother of the child or for or against any specific timesharing schedule. This means the judge will likely start at a 50/50 schedule. To obtain more time, a parent must prove that it is in the child’s best interest. Some important factors to consider when creating a timesharing schedule include the distance between the parents’ residences, the parents’ job schedules, each parent’s ability to care for the child, and other factors unique to each family unit. Timesharing schedules include school year scheduling as well as holiday and summer schedules.
The second prong of Florida “custody” is parental responsibility, which refers to the rights of the parents. Parental responsibility is almost always divided equally unless there are specific and extreme circumstances which make it appropriate for one parent to have sole parental responsibility. Shared parental responsibility means the parents shall confer prior to making major decisions for the child. Additionally, it gives each parent the right to be involved in such decisions like academic, medical, and other areas regarding the child’s welfare.
What is a divorce agreement?
A divorce agreement is the contract between the parties which resolves all of the issues between the parties. A divorce agreement is called a Marital Settlement Agreement and if you have children, there will be a second portion called a Parenting Plan. The Marital Settlement Agreement will discuss alimony, the separation of all assets and debts, the division of real property, child support, if applicable, and contain all of the language needed to separate the parties back to single individuals.
A Parenting Plan will outline the way the parents will govern themselves in relation to the child. A Parenting Plan will outline the timesharing schedule including holiday, summer, and school schedule, discuss medical insurance and how uncovered expenses will be covered, discuss parental responsibility, educational and extracurricular activities and expenses, transportation and travel, tax designations, communication with the child, among other detailed issues.
If the parties are able to settle, they will be able to create an agreement that is suitable and specific to their wants and needs for their family. If the parties cannot settle, a judge will make the final decision as to how the parties will govern themselves.
An agreement between the parties is binding under contract law, meaning it can only be set aside in very rare circumstances. If you are presented with a divorce agreement, you should seek legal counsel before signing.
Does it matter if one party caused the need for the divorce (i.e. criminal activity, cheating, addiction)?
No, Florida is a no-fault state.
My spouse does not want a divorce, am I stuck in the marriage?
No, in Florida the standard for divorce is the marriage must be irretrievably broken, and only one party has to plead that standard and file for divorce.
Does it matter who files for divorce?
No, the petitioner (the person who files for divorce) does not get any advantage in the divorce proceedings.
Does Florida recognize separation of the parties?
No, in Florida you are either married or divorced. Florida views assets and debts incurred during the marriage as marital property. Once a party has filed for divorce or the parties are living in separate physical residences, there is case law to support that financial debts incurred at that point may be that of each individual party. This helps protect a party from a spiteful spouse purposefully taking on more “marital” debt to the detriment of the other party during divorce proceedings.
What is the Florida relocation statute?
Once a paternity or divorce proceeding with children is filed, both parties may not move more than 50 miles from their current residences without consent or order of the court. The 50 miles is measured as the crow flies (a straight line from point A to point B).