Dissolution of Marriage
Florida is a "no fault" dissolution state. In other words, there is no need to show one party has done anything wrong to
obtain a divorce. As long as one party presents evidence the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court may legally dissolve
the parties' marriage.
As part of dissolving the parties' marriage, the Court must divide the parties' assets and liabilities. In almost every case, the parties are jointly entitled to assets acquired during the marriage, and jointly responsible for debts incurred during the marriage. The Court will attempt to roughly divide the assets and liabilities equally between the parties, through the statutory scheme known as "equitable distribution." In some cases, a party may own assets or have debts that are considered "non-marital" or "pre-marital", and the Court may award such property or debt solely to that party.
The Court must also determine entitlement to, and the amount of, spousal support (also known as "alimony"). Many factors are considered by the Court in determining entitlement to alimony, but the most important are the requesting party's need for support and the paying party's ability to provide support. Several types of support, including temporary alimony (paid during the divorce), permanent, durational, bridge-the-gap, or rehabilitative alimony, are available.
If there are children born during the marriage, the court may also order one party to pay the other child support. Each parent has a legal duty to provide their children financial support. The parties' respective child support obligations are based on Section 61.30 of the Florida Statutes (also known as the "Child Support Guidelines"), which provides the presumptive child support obligation for each parent, based primarily on respective incomes and the number of overnight timesharing periods each parent exercises. Health care, health insurance, and day care expenses are also a portion of child support, and a court must order a parent to provide insurance coverage if it is "reasonably available."
Dissolution proceedings can be complicated, especially where children are involved. An experienced, aggressive family attorney can assist you in ensuring the best possible outcome in a divorce. Rowland Law Firm, LLC, has years of experience in litigating dissolution cases, and we can help you navigate this complex area of law to ensure your rights are protected. Send us an email or call our office to learn more about how we can help.
Timesharing, Child Support, Alimony, Spousal Support, etc.
Sometimes, circumstances change after a final judgment of dissolution or paternity. A party may be entitled to modify provisions of the
final judgment related to child support, timesharing, or spousal support, parental responsibility, or alimony.
The court may increase or decrease a parties' support obligation or entitlement, or it may change the parties' timesharing arrangement. The court may also decide it is in the child's best interest to allow one parent to make all decisions, or limit a parent's decision-making rights.
Modification actions can present complex issues, and an experienced family attorney can advise you on the necessary steps to either secure modification or defend against it.
Enforcement / Contempt
Even after a final judgment is entered, some parties refuse to comply. In certain cases, the Court is allowed to use its' contempt
power to coerce an uncooperative party's compliance. Generally, only support issues are enforceable by contempt, and the Court can
impose sanctions, including imprisonment, to ensure compliance with prior orders and judgments.
All provisions of a judgment or order not enforceable by contempt can be "enforced," through entry of a civil judgment. This includes property distribution, transfer of property (such as the signing of a quitclaim deed in a divorce action), and other types of non-contemptible provisions.
Paternity actions create a legal parent-child relationship between the father and the child when the child is born to an unmarried
mother. This legal relationship can include responsibility for child support, insurance, and other expenses, and may also create
timesharing rights for the parties.
Paternity actions can be complex, and the assistance of an experienced family attorney is crucial to ensure the proper procedure is followed and the case is presented in a compelling way.