West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney
Divorces in Florida, especially in the West Palm Beach area, have become very common. Florida only allows for a no-fault divorce, which means that you do not have to blame a person for the divorce. All that is required by law is that the person wishing for the divorce believes the marriage is irretrievably broken.
Divorces can become hotly contested, putting a strain on your family, friends, and finances. When thinking about getting divorced take into consideration:
Property and assets that you and your spouse have accumulated during the marriage
The responsibility of child support
Timesharing of the children
Where you are going to live if you need to move out of your house
The burden on your children if they will have to travel back and forth between homes.
The above list is just an example of what divorcing couples may fight over and contest in court. In this stressful time, let the West Palm Beach Law Office of Evan S. Kass, calm your nerves and provide you legal services necessary for you to make a new start.
What do I do if my spouse is violent or harasses me?
If you’re in danger, call the police or a domestic violence hotline like 800-799-SAFE. Even before you file for divorce, you can obtain a restraining order from the court, without notifying your spouse. Consult the clerk of court or a lawyer. If the court issues a restraining order on this basis ("ex parte"), there will be a court hearing within a number of days where your spouse can argue against the order. Once the divorce process begins, the court can order your spouse to leave the house (especially if you have children) and stay away from you. Domestic violence cases have priority in the court system and are heard quickly.
*THE INFORMATION BELOW IS NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE AND SHOULD ONLY BE USED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES*
What are the requirements to get divorced in Florida? There are essentially only two requirements to be eligible for a divorce in Florida. The first is a 6 month residency requirement. This means you need to have been a resident of Florida for at least 6 months before the divorce is filed. The second requirement is under Florida Statute 61.052, which states that the marriage needs to either be irretrievably broken or one of the parties becomes mentally incapacitated. Please see below for F.S. 61.052.
Should I get a divorce or an annulment? Florida does not have an annulment statute. The basic difference between a divorce and an annulment is that a divorce says this marriage is broken. An annulment says there never was a marriage. A marriage may be annulled for a cause that has prevented the parties from contracting a valid marriage.
For instance, (1) The invalidity of a marriage may arise from legal or mental incapacity, because of physical incapacities or infirmities, or (2) Because of lack of consent to marriage, or (3) A marriage may also be invalid because consent was wrongfully procured by force, duress, fraud, or concealment.
I’ve been served divorce papers, what do I do now? If you have already been served with a petition for divorce, you have 20 days to file an answer to the petition. After the 20 days, your spouse may seek a default against you.
How will my children be affected? Unfortunately, in a divorce, your children will be affected. How much so depends on the parents, and their ability to work and communicate together for the best interests of the children. Child Support and Timesharing are the biggest concerns for divorcing couples to face.
When can I get divorced? You can get divorced at any time during your marriage.
How much will it cost? The cost of a divorce depends on many different factors. The biggest factor is the complexity of the case. A Simple Uncontested divorce can be relatively inexpensive. However, a contested divorce can involve many hours of work and very time consuming. If you or your spouse will contest the divorce proceeding, it is best to consult with an attorney. Contact the West Palm Beach Law Office of Evan S. Kass, P.L. to discuss your options.
A Simple vs. Contested divorce? A simple uncontested divorce is a divorce in which there are very little assets and liabilities that need to be distributed, and where both parties agree on the terms of the divorce. However, in situations involving large estates, property disputes, or bitter spouses, it will be inevitable that the divorce will be contested.
I was married in a different state, can I still get divorced in Florida? Yes, as long as you have currently resided in Florida for at least six months before the petition of dissolution was or is filed; you may be divorced in Florida.
Can I change my name back to my maiden name? Yes, it is common for the court to grant the return of the wife's maiden name.
Will I be able to receive alimony? The courts determine alimony on a case by case basis and take into consideration many different factors. Contact the West Palm Beach Law Office of Evan S. Kass, for a free evaluation to determine if you are eligible to receive alimony.
Will I lose all my property to my spouse? Florida follows the idea of "equitable distribution". The means that the courts will try to split marital property and assets as equally and fairly as possible or as justice deserves. As long as your property is not considered marital property, you will be able to retain it.
Divorce = Dissolution of Marriage
In Florida, what is commonly referred to as Divorce, is legally called a Dissolution of Marriage.
Below is the statute that governs divorce cases in Florida.
Fla. Stat. Ch. 61.052 Dissolution of Marriage
(1) No judgment of dissolution of marriage shall be granted unless one of the following facts appears, which shall be pleaded generally:
(a) The marriage is irretrievably broken.
(b) Mental incapacity of one of the parties. However, no dissolution shall be allowed unless the party alleged to be incapacitated shall have been adjudged incapacitated according to the provisions of s. 744.331 for a preceding period of at least 3 years. Notice of the proceeding for dissolution shall be served upon one of the nearest blood relatives or guardian of the incapacitated person, and the relative or guardian shall be entitled to appear and to be heard upon the issues. If the incapacitated party has a general guardian other than the party bringing the proceeding, the petition and summons shall be served upon the incapacitated party and the guardian; and the guardian shall defend and protect the interests of the incapacitated party. If the incapacitated party has no guardian other than the party bringing the proceeding, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to defend and protect the interests of the incapacitated party. However, in all dissolutions of marriage granted on the basis of incapacity, the court may require the petitioner to pay alimony pursuant to the provisions of s. 61.08.
(2) Based on the evidence at the hearing, which evidence need not be corroborated except to establish that the residence requirements of s. 61.021 are met which may be corroborated by a valid Florida driver's license, a Florida voter's registration card, a valid Florida identification card issued under s. 322.051, or the testimony or affidavit of a third party, the court shall dispose of the petition for dissolution of marriage when the petition is based on the allegation that the marriage is irretrievably broken as follows:
(a) If there is no minor child of the marriage and if the responding party does not, by answer to the petition for dissolution, deny that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court shall enter a judgment of dissolution of the marriage if the court finds that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
(b) When there is a minor child of the marriage, or when the responding party denies by answer to the petition for dissolution that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court may:
Order either or both parties to consult with a marriage counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, minister, priest, rabbi, or any other person deemed qualified by the court and acceptable to the party or parties ordered to seek consultation; or
Continue the proceedings for a reasonable length of time not to exceed 3 months, to enable the parties themselves to effect a reconciliation; or
Take such other action as may be in the best interest of the parties and the minor child of the marriage.
(If, at any time, the court finds that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court shall enter a judgment of dissolution of the marriage. If the court finds that the marriage is not irretrievably broken, it shall deny the petition for dissolution of marriage.)
(3) During any period of continuance, the court may make appropriate orders for the support and alimony of the parties; the parenting plan, support, maintenance, and education of the minor child of the marriage; attorney's fees; and the preservation of the property of the parties.
(4) A judgment of dissolution of marriage shall result in each spouse having the status of being single and unmarried. No judgment of dissolution of marriage renders the child of the marriage a child born out of wedlock.
(5) The court may enforce an antenuptial agreement to arbitrate a dispute in accordance with the law and tradition chosen by the parties.
(6) Any injunction for protection against domestic violence arising out of the dissolution of marriage proceeding shall be issued as a separate order in compliance with chapter 741 and shall not be included in the judgment of dissolution of marriage.
(7) In the initial pleading for a dissolution of marriage as a separate attachment to the pleading, each party is required to provide his or her social security number and the full names and social security numbers of each of the minor children of the marriage.
(8) Pursuant to the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, each party is required to provide his or her social security number in accordance with this section. Each party is also required to provide the full name, date of birth, and social security number for each minor child of the marriage. Disclosure of social security numbers obtained through this requirement shall be limited to the purpose of administration of the Title IV-D program for child support enforcement.