If you take the romance out of the equation – marriage is a legal partnership. The parties to the marriage have legal and fiduciary duties to one another. If the parties agree to enter into a Pre-Marital Agreement, they must make a fair and reasonable disclosure of their assets and liabilities, among other things. Although a party to a Pre-Marital Agreement cannot contract away the rights to child support or temporary alimony, they can agree as to how real property will be distributed, whether alimony will be paid and how all other assets and liabilities will be divided upon dissolution of the marriage.
If you find yourself contemplating a divorce, many issues will need to be settled before a final dissolution hearing can take place. Florida is an equitable distribution state. Many factors will determine how assets should be distributed. Are the assets “marital property” or “non-marital property”? Do you have a marriage of “short”, “moderate” or “long term” duration? Even though Florida is an equitable distribution state, this does not mean the court will automatically divide assets and liability 50/50 equally. The court may unequally distribute marital assets and marital liabilities based upon a series of factors including: the contributions of each party to the marriage, the contribution of one party to the career or educational opportunities of the other, the intentional depletion or destruction of marital assets by one party, fraud and/or and other equitable factors. The court may even award a cash payment from one party to the other to balance out assets and liabilities. The court may also award a spouse alimony. The factors considered by a court when determining issues of alimony include: the age of the parties, the duration of the marriage, the health, education, and skills of each party, and a variety of other factors. Generally, marital misconduct, such as adultery, is only considered when it has an economic consequence.
Are there minor children? If so, you will need a parenting plan that defines time sharing and child support. Both parents have a duty to support their children. Florida uses statutory child support guidelines to calculate child support. Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, most courts will order “shared parental responsibility.” If you are contemplating a divorce and you have minor children, it is critical to keep the big picture in mind – THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILDREN. Getting a divorce is a traumatizing and emotional time for everyone, especially the children. Staying focused will be challenging.
This is why you should hire a competent family law attorney who will advise you as to your rights under the law and who work closely with you and the other parties in an attempt to dissolve the marriage in an amicable and expeditious manner for the health, safety and well being of all parties.
If you would like more information about the Horton Law Group Family Law practice, please call (561) 600-5626 to schedule a free consultation.
Our firm provides the following Services:
- Divorce/Dissolution of Marriage
- Parenting Plans
- Pre and Post Marital Agreements
- Modification Child Support
- Paternity Martial
- Settlement Agreements