Divorce in Florida Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are you Florida lawyers?

Yes. Our lawyers are admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of Florida. We have offices located throughout the State of Florida: Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville.

 

2. I am in the U.S. military and deployed out of the country. Can you help me?

Yes. We handle many military divorces. Our service works well since we can get it done quickly and affordably. Either you or your spouse must be a continuous Florida resident for at least 6 months at the time we file your case. Active military members can satisfy this requirement if either they or their spouse actually resides in Florida. Deployed members or those stationed outside of Florida can still be divorced in Florida if Florida is their home state and they intend on returning here after discharge.

 

3. Is there an extra charge to divide our property and debt?

No. Our legal service includes preparation of your Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA). This is the divorce contract and covers all of the divorce issues. You tell us who gets what and who pays for what and we make sure your customized MSA reflects your agreement.

 

4. Do I have to fill out a financial affidavit?

Yes. To get a divorce in Florida both parties are required to exchange honest financial affidavits. There are some exceptions, of course, like anything else in the law. A material misstatement in a financial affidavit can be a reason for a court to set aside a final judgment of dissolution of marriage down the road; it could be considered a fraud on the court.

 

5. What if my spouse refuses to sign the papers?

Not every one of our clients comes to us with an agreement. Oftentimes they want a divorce and maybe have even discussed it with their spouse, but the spouse is resistant or foot dragging. Having us prepare the papers gets the ball rolling. Our papers are easy to understand with no lawyer trickery. Sometimes the spouse will come around to the realization that the marriage is over and that an agreed divorce is better and less costly, emotionally and financially, than fighting; or not. If your spouse refuses to participate in the process we can file a case and have him (or her) served with papers. We recommend trying the path of least resistance first.

 

6. I have minor children. Who gets custody and visitation?

The court will be concerned mostly with the children and that they are properly provided for. Terms like "custody" and "visitation" have been abolished by Florida law. We now talk in terms of "parenting" and "time sharing". It's the same thing, really, as it was before. Where are the children going to live or spend the majority of their time? How is the child's time going to be divided between parents? That gets spelled out in a parenting plan. We will send you a form of parenting plan that has been approved by Florida courts. The form can be customized to fit your situation and will be made part of your Marital Settlement Agreement.

 

7. What about child support when filling for divorce in Florida?

If you have minor children the court will require child support to be calculated according to the statutory child support guidelines. We prepare a child support guidelines worksheet for you based on the data you provide to us. Child support is not a function of a negotiation. It is based on existing facts and a mathematical equation found in Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes. Child support is a right owned by the children and cannot be negotiated away by either parent, both of whom have a legal obligation to provide support and health care until the children reach the age of majority (or graduate from high school if after age 18 but before 19).

 

8. My spouse has gone missing. Can I still get a divorce in Florida?

Yes. So long as you have made a good faith effort to find your missing spouse with no luck, there is a process available for you to get divorced. A case is filed and special court notice published in the local business journal once a week for 4 consecutive weeks. If nothing is filed in response by your spouse a default is sought and final hearing set before the judge. In this type of case you will have to attend court.

 

9. Does your flat attorney fee include the court filing fee?

No. The clerks of court have staff that needs to be paid. They have expenses of running their offices and courts need money to pay judges, staff and to do the business of doling out justice. Filing fees help fund the court system. The clerk will not accept any case for filing without payment of a filing fee. The filing fee for divorce in Florida is about $409 depending on the county the case is filed in. Some counties are slightly less. No filing fee, no divorce. The court filing fee is not included in our flat attorney fee. Heck, the clerk charges more in most of our cases than we do. In missing spouse cases the publication fee is also extra.

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