Do you need both parties to agree to get a divorce in Florida?
No, Florida is a no fault divorce which means that one party can file for divorce in the state of Florida. The party filing a petition for dissolution of marriage or divorce must plead that the marriage is "irretrievably broken." The phrase irretrievably broken essentially means that the marriage is beyond repair and no therapy would help the marriage.
Do I have to go to Court or can we agree and not have to go to Court?
Yes, you can agree on terms of your divorce. Courts encourage families to resolve the issues without having to litigate. Mediation is mandatory whereas the Court would order the parties to attend mediation in an effort to resolve thier case. However, it can be difficult to determine what should be included in the parties' settlement agreement. This is where advice from a family lawyer can be very helpful. A good lawyer would always try to assist the family in resolving their issues in the most fair manner.
Do I get more time with my kids because I am the Mom?
Florida law is gender neutral and does not provide a prefernce for mom or dad. Florida courts examine the best interest of the minor child or children in order to determine timesharing for the parents. Timesharing is the term of art which provides a plan as to when the children would be spending night with each parent. In order to determine best interest of the child or children, the Court has to examine many factors such as the stability of the house, safe environment, ability of the parent to spend time with the child or children etc.
Why would I need to pay alimony if I am divorcing my spouse and for how long?
Alimony is based on a fact by fact basis under Florida law. The concept of Alimony is that one spouse who did not earn as much as the other should not suffer simply because of the divorce. Alimony is based on financial need of one spouse for monthly assistance and financial ability of the other spouse to pay for the other spouse's monthly needs. There are many different types of alimony such as permanant, durational, rehabilitative, bridge the gap, lump-sum and temporary alimony. Each of these types of alimony requires an in depth analysis to decide if the recipient spouse will get any of the above stated alimony. Alimony typically requires a multiple step analysis but the primary one is to determine how long will the alimony be required for and how much should be paid.
Why am I stuck or forced to live near my ex if I already divorced him or her?
Florida courts do not allow one parent to relocate more than 50 miles of their current residence without the permission of the other parent. The restriction is not on the parent but rather on the relocation of the minor child. However, the parent wanting to relocate can request the Court's permission to relocate given that there is good cause as to why the parent is attempting to relocate. This requires a detailed analysis by an experienced family lawyer as there are many factors the Court will examine such as what is in the best interest of the minor child, how would this relocation affect the other parent's relationship with the minor child, and likelihood of the moving parent maintaining the minor child's relationship with the other parent.