“Dissolution of Marriage”, or divorce, is the legal proceeding to end your marriage. In Florida, if you believe that your marriage is over and you have reasons to end your marriage, the courts must grant you a dissolution of marriage. The Court will also determine every issue between you and your spouse regarding children, property, support and other important legal rights. Our lawyers and staff represent people in complex, contested divorces. But, even if you have a short length of marriage or have little property, there are important rights that are involved.
Child support is determined based on the incomes of the parties, the cost of health insurance and the cost of child care expenses. Florida has child support guidelines, which will set the amount of child support based on these factors. Please contact us for more information.
When parents of the children are not married to each other, a Paternity action will decide all matters regarding the children. You may request that the other parent take a paternity test, just to make sure about paternity. Once paternity is established, the Court will determine a Parenting Plan (just like in a Divorce case) for decision making, where the children reside for school purposes and for spending time with the children. The Relocation Statute also applies to paternity cases, so a parent may not move more than 50 miles with the child unless the other parent agrees or the Court allows the move.
Nothing is more important than the health, safety and well-being of your children. Florida does not award “custody” or says that one parent is the “primary residential parent”. You and your spouse will design a Parenting Plan for all matters about your children. If you and your spouse do not agree on something about your children, the Court will set up a Parenting Plan for you. The Parenting Plan will determine how you and your spouse will parent the children, where the children will reside for school purposes, and how each will have contact with the children. In most cases we have “shared parental responsibility”. This means that Mom and Dad are still Mom and Dad, and participate in school activities, have access to records, and must agree on major decisions regarding bringing up your children, such as education, religion, and other important matters. The court will determine the time sharing arrangement. There is no such thing as a “standard visitation” order.
Contact between the parents and the children should be carefully designed to reflect the needs of the children, and the customary holiday and vacation plans of the family. In certain circumstances where the welfare and best interests of the child would be imperiled, one parent may be designated as the sole decision maker, may be given sole residential responsibility, and the contact of the other party, who is detrimental to the child may be limited or supervised.
When the other party does not comply with your Agreement or with an Order of the Court, you have the right to require the other party to obey the provisions of the Agreement or Order. The Court has Contempt powers to enforce payment of child support, alimony and attorneys’ fees. If found in Contempt, the other person may be sent to jail until they comply. The Court will also determine the amount of support or fees owed; and require the other party to make payments. Contempt is also used to enforce visitation and parenting matters. The Court will also enforce the property terms and conditions of any Agreement or Order. The Court may enforce a requirement to pay a debt, to give you property, or to sell property. In many cases, if you win a Contempt or Enforcement hearing, the Court may order the other party to reimburse you for your attorney’s fees and costs.
The Wheelock Law Firm has over 30 years of experience in dealing with adoption and will handle your issues with the best care possible.
The Wheelock Law Firm will help with your Same Sex marriage, divorce, and adoption issues. Please contact our office for more information.
Sometimes a parent wants to move away with the children. Florida has a law called the “Relocation Statute”. The law says that once you have a divorce case or a Parenting Plan you cannot move the children more than 50 miles unless the other parent agrees or the Court says that you can. The law has a number of factors to consider, such as the reason for the move, how involved the non-moving parent has been with the children, and other important matters to decide if a move is in the best interests of the children.
You may have the right to collect support from your spouse. To determine whether alimony is appropriate for a case, the court will look at the length of the marriage, the substantial differences in income between the parties, whether one parent has made a special contribution to the education of the advancement of the other party, the health of the parties and many other factors. Especially if you and your spouse have been married for a long time, you may be entitled to spousal support. Spousal support may be permanent which will only terminate upon the remarriage of the spouse receiving the support, the death of either spouse, or certain other limited circumstances.
The court may also award "durational alimony." This is alimony payments for a specific period of time. In other cases, the spouse may need assistance to gain additional education or training, and receive alimony for a short period of time to "bridge-the-gap" of need after dissolution of marriage.