Creating a Divorce Plan
Your hopes for a successful marriage are now over. Your marriage is irretrievably broken and it’s time to make a plan for how to go about getting divorced.
We are sorry that this has happened to you but, making plans will minimize controversy and contention and hopefully create a more peaceful co-existence for both you and your spouse. That is particularly important when there are children involved.
Since Florida is a no-fault state, you do not need “grounds” for divorce.
The divorce plan must consider several factors – just how complicated is your divorce and how much agreement have you reached? Everything you agree to in a divorce plan will save you continued stress from unresolved issues.
Coming to some agreement through negotiation is the best way to preserve what you consider to be important. Otherwise, you can expect the court to impose an outcome and that can be a wild card.
Understand that everything will change for you and your children. That may include your home, your friends, and your children’s school. You want to make sure that you maintain a certain standard of living and are not forced into a much lower standard. It is a good time to seek counseling to ease the process.
Consider the elements of a divorce:
- Filing for Divorce – For a Simple Dissolution of Marriage, both parties agree on paper, show up at court before the judge if there are no outstanding issues to resolve. When children are involved, agreement must be reached on their future.
- Assets and Property – Do you own a business, property, or a house? Have you determined how you will divide your assets? What did each party own before the marriage? What have you acquired since the marriage?
- Children – The plan should focus on what is in the best interests of the dependent children. Determine who the children will live with or will you split custody? Who is the primary parent to make decision on education, vacations, and medical care? How will the custodial parent be compensated? Will either parent be able to relocate to another state for any reason with the children?
- Alimony – If one party is not working, has the other agreed to a support plan? Will there be rehabilitative alimony while that party attends school? Will the stay-at-home parent receive alimony and support for the children?
These are all areas where agreement will be reached either by both parties or, if necessary, by a judge.
On the other hand, if one of the parties is agreeing in haste to end the marriage, she may not be acting in her own best interest. This is the time when careful and compassionate counseling from an experienced family law attorney is advised.
Attorney Crystal Spencer will help you explore how best to protect yourself, your assets, and your children when you are facing the difficult decision to divorce.
Filing Divorce Papers
The first paper is a Dissolution of Marriage. It is filed by the petitioner. Under state law, it’s required that at least one of the parties has resided in Florida for a minimum of six months. In a simple Petition for Dissolution, you both agree it is not possible to save the marriage and the wife is not pregnant. You have agreed on dividing assets and liabilities and are both prepared to attend the final hearing.
With children involved, you’re filing will be a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with Dependent or Minor Children. This paperwork will include your plans on how to divide property, debts, and the issue of alimony.
Under Florida law, expect to have to reveal your financials including assets and debt, credit cards and investments, wages and tax returns. Any other forms of income must be revealed.
Both marital assets, acquired during the marriage, and non-marital assets, such as an inheritance, gifts, or what the spouse had before the marriage, will be discussed.
The judge will rely on this information to help determine the final financial outcome in your divorce.
If you have not come to a divorce agreement, mediation may be ordered. Both divorcing spouses sit down with a neutral third party to attempt to come to an agreement without involving the court.
Your Experienced Florida Family Lawyer
If there has been abuse, hiding of assets, adultery, abandonment in your marriage, or spending down assets recklessly, you can probably assume that coming to an agreeable divorce will be a challenge.
Since any decisions you make now that are not in your favor in the future will be permanent, Crystal Collins Spencer strongly encourages you to let her put her three decades as a family law specialist to work for you.
Our law firm is committed to excellence and compassionate care of our clients. Let our experience work for you whether you are in Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach, or Sandestin. Let’s begin the conversation at (850) 795-4910.