Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce

Our family law attorneys understand the degree of complexity which often accompanies divorce and other family law matters. Our Sarasota family law firm offers this resource page in order to provide our clients with answers to a number of their most pressing questions. For more information or to schedule a free initial case evaluation, contact us.

Sarasota Divorce Attorneys & Florida Family Lawyers

How Is The Amount Of Child Support Determined?

In the State of Florida, there is a statute called the Child Support Guidelines. Your net income, along with the number of children you have is some of the factors used to determine the total child support amount that must be paid on a recurring basis depending on your case.

How Is Is Child Custody Determined With Unmarried Parents?

The first thing you will need to do is to prove paternity of the child through a test. A paternity test can often be ordered by a Florida court. After issues of paternity are determined, then your family law attorney can advocate for you as they normally would in a family law case.

What Happens When Spouses Refuse To Report Their Income?

In Florida, the state can impute income to a spouse or partner. In other words, a family law lawyer can argue that their client's spouse or partner earns below their capacity and ask the court to calculate child support or alimony as if the spouse or partner earns what they could. If a spouse or partner is earning money under the table or is otherwise hiding sources of income, it will be up to you and your divorce attorneys to prove that.

How Do I Get A Divorce In Florida?

In order to file for divorce in the State of Florida, you will need to attest to the fact that your marriage is no longer able to be mended through counseling or other means. In Florida, you do not need to prove anything other than that your marriage is "irretrievably broken." Either you or your spouse needs to be a resident of Florida for the six month period before you file a divorce petition. The first thing you will need to do is file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This reveals your claims to property and debts, child support, or alimony. Your spouse will need to be served papers by a process server. If there are children in the relationship, you and your spouse will also be required to complete a parenting seminar before the two of you can proceed.

Can One Divorce Attorney Represent Both Spouses?

There should never be one attorney who represents both parties. You and your spouse may have very different goals when it comes to child support, alimony, division of property and/or debts. Therefore you and your spouse should have different Sarasota divorce lawyers representing both parties.

Am I Eligible For An Annulment In Florida?

If you are considering an annulment, you should know that it is difficult to get the former granted by a Florida court. To get an annulment, you will need to prove that one of the following scenarios occurred. If none of the following scenarios occurred, or you wait a long time before filing for an annulment, a Florida judge may require you and your spouse to file a regular Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.

  • One of the parties was unable to enter the contract due to an inability to understand the proceedings;
  • One of the parties was intoxicated at the time of the contract;
  • The two parties never consummated the marriage;
  • One of the parties seriously misrepresented themselves prior to the marriage.

Do Young Children Understand Divorce?

Generally, no. Babies and toddlers feel conflict and tension between parents, but don’t comprehend the reasons for why this occurs.

How Will Divorce Affect My Kids?

It depends on your kids’ maturity and development at the time and how you and your spouse get along during the divorce. High levels of conflict between divorcing parents have been found to lead to a poorer adjustment for their kids, resulting in negative long-term effects.

How Do Children Cope With Divorce?

Each child copes differently and how they handle the stress of divorce depends often depends on their age, personality, and circumstances of the divorce. Parents can help their children by keeping visible conflict such as heated discussions away from them and try to minimize any changes in the children’s daily routine.

Does My Child Need A Lawyer?

Generally,  children do not require their own lawyer during a situation in which his or her parents are going through a divorce. But, the court may appoint a Sarasota divorce attorney for your child if the court believes the child needs legal representation, or you request one.

Why Did The Court Appoint A Guardian To My Child?

A Guardian Ad Litem is often appointed when a divorce has allegations of domestic abuse and/or neglect involved with a minor child present in the home. The role of the guardian is to look out for the child’s best interest as a neutral individual during the divorce proceedings.

When Might A Child Need A Lawyer?

Children often benefit from the help of a lawyer when there is a high level of conflict between their parents; the child has strong views; there is a history of family violence, drug or alcohol issues, or mental health problems; or interference with the parenting plan.

What Does A Lawyer For Children Do?

The child’s lawyer advises the court what is best for the child, how their parents can best meet the child’s needs, and the best way to handle any conflicts. A family law attorney in Sarasota meets with your child and learns about their beliefs, feelings, and wishes. The lawyer will also meet with you, the child’s other parent, and others who know the child, such as teachers, doctors, and daycare providers. The child must be available to meet with the lawyer when the lawyer asks. You’re also required to sign legal forms allowing the lawyer to view the child’s health records, school records, and/or other information pertinent to the case.

What Is A Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a pre-marriage contract that is signed by both parties. This agreement determines what will happen regarding alimony, division of property and/or debts in the event of a divorce. These contracts can be important as what one party will get can differ greatly depending on whether one exists or not.

For the most part, prenup agreements are upheld in Florida courts. However, they can be contested if one party can prove that the other hid assets prior to the signing of the agreement, or otherwise was not truthful about the financial holdings. Prenuptial agreements can also be contested if one party felt coerced, intimidated or forced to sign the agreement.