In order to divorce your spouse, you must petition the court to dissolve your marriage and exchange financial disclosure reflecting your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. Your case can be resolved by negotiating and entering into a marital settlement agreement with your spouse or by presenting your case to a judge at trial. Issues for resolution in a divorce commonly include: 1) identification, valuation, and division of marital assets and liabilities, 2) determination of entitlement, duration, and amount of alimony or child support, 3) determination of child support, if applicable, 4) creation of a parenting plan and timesharing schedule, if applicable, and 5) determination of entitlement and amount of attorneys’ fees and costs.
A prenuptial agreement or “prenup” is a contract between two individuals prior to the marriage, whereas a postnuptial agreement or “postnup” is a contract between two individuals during the marriage. Both prenups and postnups specify how the couple’s assets and liabilities are to be treated during the marriage and how they should be divided in the event of dissolution of marriage or death. These agreements can also provide for each party’s entitlement to alimony in the event of dissolution of marriage and other rights unique to the couple. Having a valid prenup or postnup can expedite the process of a dissolution of marriage because most, if not all, matters between the individuals are resolved.
Parentage or Paternity actions involve the establishment of parental rights over a child between couples of the same gender or different gender, who are not legally married. In Florida, that includes creating a parenting plan which delineates parental responsibility and timesharing with the parties’ child(ren). If the parties cannot agree upon the terms of a parenting plan, the Court will formulate a parenting plan based upon the best interests of the child(ren) after consideration of the statutory factors, as advocated by your lawyer. Parentage cases also involve the establishment of each parent’s child support obligations pursuant to statutory guidelines, which take into account each parent’s income, the timesharing schedule, and other expenses that are paid by each parent, such as the costs of childcare and health insurance.
Post judgment issues arise when a party seeks to enforce or modify the terms of an Agreement or Final Judgment following a Dissolution of Marriage or Paternity action. Enforcement may be necessary when the opposing party fails to comply with certain obligations pursuant to the parties’ Agreement or Final Judgment. If a party seeks to modify the terms of an Agreement or Final Judgment, there generally must be a showing of a substantial and unanticipated change in circumstances since the entry of the Agreement or Final Judgment. Enforcement and modification actions can involve a range of issues such as child support, alimony, or timesharing.