Boca Raton Divorce Attorney Serving Broward & Palm Beach County
Going through a divorce is a tough time for anyone. At The Law Offices of Ronald M. Zakarin, we are here to help and provide you with competent and compassionate assistance. We have experience handling divorce cases in the Broward and Palm Beach counties in Florida. We are dedicated to listening to your concerns and developing a plan that is focused on finding the optimal resolution for you and your family.
In Florida, divorce is referred to as the “dissolution of marriage” and is granted on a no-fault basis. This means that one spouse does not need to prove that the other spouse did something wrong in order to get a divorce. Instead, all that needs to be proven is that the marriage is irretrievably broken or that one of the parties is mentally incapacitated. Even if a spouse has committed adultery or been cruel to the other spouse, these issues are not relevant in the divorce proceedings.
However, fault may be taken into consideration in certain circumstances when it comes to matters such as alimony, the distribution of marital assets and debts, and the determination of custody and parental responsibility. For example, if one spouse has spent a significant amount of the couple’s money on a drug or alcohol addiction, the other spouse may be awarded a larger share of the marital estate.
In some cases, spouses may not agree on certain issues, such as child custody, property division, child support, or spousal support. When these issues go to trial to be resolved, it is known as a contested divorce. If the issues are resolved through mediation and negotiated agreement, the case is known as an uncontested divorce. However, even in uncontested cases, spouses may spend months negotiating the terms of their agreement before coming to a resolution.
If you are considering filing for divorce in Florida, there are a few steps you need to follow. First, you or your spouse must have lived in Florida for at least six months before you can file the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the circuit court of the county in which one of you resides. Next, you will need to serve the petition on your spouse, either through personal service or by mail. If your spouse agrees to the divorce and you can come to an agreement on all issues, you may be able to avoid going to court. If not, the case will go to trial and a judge will make the final decisions on any disputed issues.
At The Law Offices of Ronald M. Zakarin, we are committed to helping you navigate the divorce process and achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
What Is The Process of Divorce In Florida?
The process of obtaining a divorce in Florida, also known as the “dissolution of marriage,” involves the following steps:
- Meeting the residency requirement: One or both spouses must have lived in Florida for at least six months before filing for divorce.
- Filing for divorce: One spouse must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the circuit court of the county in which they reside. The other spouse must be served with the petition, either through personal service or by mail.
- Responding to the petition: The spouse who has been served with the petition has 20 days to respond with a written answer.
- Negotiating a settlement: If both spouses can agree on the terms of the divorce, they may be able to avoid going to court. If not, the case will go to trial and a judge will make the final decisions on any disputed issues.
- Finalizing the divorce: Once all issues have been resolved, the court will issue a final judgment of dissolution of marriage. This can be done through a default judgment if the respondent does not respond to the petition, or after a trial if the case is contested.
It’s important to note that the process of divorce can vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case. It is advisable to seek the guidance of a qualified divorce attorney to help you understand and navigate the process.
What happens to my children in a Florida divorce?
In a divorce in Florida, the court will determine child custody and parenting arrangements based on the best interests of the child. This means that the court will consider a variety of factors, such as the child’s age, health, and relationships with each parent and any siblings, in order to determine what arrangement will be most beneficial for the child’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
The court may award sole custody to one parent, or it may award joint custody, where both parents have a say in the major decisions affecting the child’s welfare. The court may also award physical custody to one parent and grant the other parent visitation rights.
In determining the parenting plan, the court will also consider the ability of each parent to provide for the child’s needs and to encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent. If one parent has a history of domestic violence, substance abuse, or neglect, the court may limit that parent’s custody and visitation rights in order to protect the child’s safety and well-being.
It is important to note that the court’s primary concern in a divorce is the best interests of the child. If you are going through a divorce and have children, it is essential to work with an experienced attorney to ensure that your children’s interests are protected throughout the process.
How are family bills paid during the divorce process?
During the divorce process, it is important for both spouses to continue paying their bills and meeting their financial obligations as they normally would. This includes paying for household expenses, such as mortgage payments, utilities, and groceries, as well as any debts and loans that the couple may have.
If the couple is unable to agree on how to pay their bills during the divorce process, the court may issue temporary orders that outline how the bills should be paid. These orders may include provisions for one spouse to pay certain bills, or they may require both spouses to contribute to the payment of certain bills.
If one spouse is unable to pay their share of the bills due to a lack of income or other financial constraints, they may be able to request temporary spousal support from the other spouse. This support is intended to help the recipient spouse meet their basic needs and maintain their standard of living during the divorce process.
It is important to keep in mind that any temporary orders or agreements made during the divorce process are only temporary and do not necessarily reflect the final resolution of the case. The final resolution of the case, including any orders related to the payment of bills, will be determined by the court in the final judgment of divorce.
How is child support calculated in Florida?
In Florida, child support is calculated using a formula known as the “child support guidelines.” This formula takes into account the income of both parents, the number of children, and the number of overnights the children spend with each parent.
The first step in calculating child support is to determine the gross income of each parent. Gross income includes all forms of income, such as salary, wages, commissions, bonuses, and self-employment income. Some types of income, such as social security benefits and unemployment benefits, may be partially or fully excluded from the calculation.
Once the gross income of each parent has been determined, the court will use the child support guidelines to calculate the basic child support obligation. This is the amount of child support that is presumed to be in the child’s best interests, based on the income of the parents and the number of children.
The basic child support obligation is just one part of the child support calculation. The court may also consider other factors, such as the cost of healthcare and childcare, in determining the final child support award. The court may also deviate from the guidelines if there are circumstances that justify a departure from the guidelines, such as the needs of the children or the financial resources of the parents.
It is important to keep in mind that child support orders are subject to review and modification as circumstances change. If either parent experiences a significant change in income or the needs of the children change, they may request a modification of the child support order.
Will I pay or receive alimony in my divorce?
Whether you will pay or receive alimony in your divorce depends on a variety of factors, including the length of your marriage, the income and assets of each spouse, and the ability of each spouse to support themselves after the divorce.
In Florida, alimony is intended to provide financial support to a spouse who is unable to meet their basic needs after the divorce. There are several different types of alimony that may be awarded in a divorce, including bridge-the-gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony, durational alimony, and permanent alimony.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is intended to help a spouse transition from being married to being single, and is typically awarded for a short period of time. Rehabilitative alimony is intended to help a spouse become self-supporting by enabling them to get education or training. Durational alimony is intended to provide a spouse with financial support for a specific period of time, while permanent alimony is intended to provide long-term support.
In determining whether to award alimony and, if so, the amount and duration of the award, the court will consider several factors, including the standard of living established during the marriage, the length of the marriage, the financial resources of each spouse, and the ability of each spouse to earn an income. The court may also consider the contributions of each spouse to the marriage, including any contributions as a homemaker or caregiver.
It is important to keep in mind that alimony orders are subject to review and modification as circumstances change. If either spouse experiences a significant change in income or the needs of the recipient spouse change, they may request a modification of the alimony order.
What is equitable distribution?
In a divorce, “equitable distribution” refers to the process of dividing the couple’s marital assets and debts in a way that is fair and just. This process is used in states that follow the principle of “equitable distribution,” which means that the assets and debts of the marriage should be divided in a way that is fair, but not necessarily equal.
In determining the equitable distribution of assets and debts, the court will consider a variety of factors, including the length of the marriage, the contributions of each spouse to the marriage, the economic circumstances of each spouse, and the needs of each spouse and any children.
Marital assets are defined as any property that was acquired by either spouse during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title or deed. This includes tangible assets, such as real estate, vehicles, and personal property, as well as intangible assets, such as stocks, bonds, and retirement accounts.
Marital debts are defined as any debts that were incurred by either spouse during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the debt. This includes credit card debts, mortgages, and loans.
In dividing the marital assets and debts, the court will typically attempt to achieve an outcome that is fair and equitable, taking into account the needs and circumstances of each spouse. However, the court has broad discretion in determining the equitable distribution of the couple’s assets and debts, and the final outcome may not be equal.
What is nonmarital property under Florida divorce law?
Under Florida divorce law, nonmarital property is defined as any property that is owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, or that is acquired by one spouse during the marriage as a gift or inheritance. Nonmarital property is not subject to division in a divorce and remains the separate property of the owning spouse.
To be considered nonmarital property, the property must be traceable to a separate property source. This means that the owning spouse must be able to prove that the property was acquired before the marriage or as a gift or inheritance. If the owning spouse is unable to trace the property to a separate property source, the property may be considered marital property and subject to division in the divorce.
It is important to note that nonmarital property can become marital property if it is commingled with marital property. For example, if a spouse inherits a large sum of money and deposits it into a joint bank account with their spouse, the inherited funds may be considered marital property and subject to division in the divorce.
If you are going through a divorce and have concerns about the division of your property, it is essential to work with an experienced attorney to protect your rights and interests.
What is the role of a forensic accountant (CPA) in a divorce?
A forensic accountant, also known as a CPA, can play a key role in a divorce by helping to identify, value, and divide the assets and debts of the marriage. A forensic accountant has specialized training in financial analysis and investigation, and is able to review and interpret complex financial information.
In a divorce, a forensic accountant may be hired by one or both spouses to:
- Identify all assets and debts: A forensic accountant can help to locate and identify all of the assets and debts of the marriage, including assets that may be hidden or difficult to value. This may include assets such as bank accounts, investments, real estate, and business interests, as well as debts such as mortgages, credit card debts, and loans.
- Determine the value of assets and debts: Once all of the assets and debts have been identified, a forensic accountant can help to determine their value. This may involve appraising assets such as real estate or businesses, as well as evaluating investments and other financial assets.
- Analyze financial records: A forensic accountant can review financial records such as tax returns, bank statements, and credit card statements to identify any discrepancies or irregularities. This can help to uncover any hidden assets or income that may be relevant to the divorce.
- Testify in court: If necessary, a forensic accountant may be called to testify in court to explain their findings and assist the judge in determining a fair and equitable division of the assets and debts of the marriage.
In summary, a forensic accountant can play a crucial role in a divorce by helping to identify, value, and divide the financial assets and debts of the marriage. Their expertise and attention to detail can be invaluable in ensuring that the financial aspects of the divorce are resolved fairly and accurately.
Where can I find information about Florida’s “Parent Education and Family Stabilization”?
Florida’s “Parent Education and Family Stabilization” courses are required for parents who are going through a divorce or seeking to modify a child custody or visitation order. The courses are designed to help parents understand the effects of divorce on children and to provide them with the tools to co-parent effectively.
You can find information about Florida’s “Parent Education and Family Stabilization” courses on the Florida Department of Children and Families website. The website provides information about the course content, as well as a list of approved providers who offer the courses.
You can also contact your local county courthouse or the clerk of court’s office for more information about the courses. They should be able to provide you with details about how to enroll in a course and where to find an approved provider in your area.
It is important to note that you may be required to complete the “Parent Education and Family Stabilization” course as a condition of your divorce or custody case. Failure to complete the course can result in delays or other negative consequences in your case.
What happens where my spouse and I started a business during our marriage?
If you and your spouse started a business during your marriage and are now contemplating divorce, the business may be considered a marital asset that is subject to division in the divorce. This means that the value of the business will be determined and divided between the spouses in a way that is fair and equitable.
There are several factors that may be considered in determining the value of the business, including the assets and liabilities of the business, the income and expenses of the business, and the market value of similar businesses. A forensic accountant or other financial expert may be hired to assist in valuing the business.
Once the value of the business has been determined, the court will consider a variety of factors in deciding how to divide the business between the spouses. These factors may include the contributions of each spouse to the business, the future earning potential of the business, and the needs and circumstances of each spouse.
There are several options for dividing a business in a divorce, including selling the business and dividing the proceeds, or allowing one spouse to buy out the other spouse’s share of the business. In some cases, it may be possible for the spouses to continue running the business together, although this is typically not recommended due to the potential for conflicts and difficulties in working together after the divorce.
If you and your spouse own a business and are considering divorce, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced attorney to understand your options and protect your interests.
Should I contact attorney Ronald M. Zakarin in Boca Raton, Florida If I’m Thinking About Divorce?
If you are considering divorce and would like legal assistance, it is generally a good idea to speak with an experienced divorce attorney to understand your options and protect your rights. You can call Ronald Zakarin today for a consultation by calling 561-338-5297.