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Frequently Asked Questions

Isn't 50/50 Time-sharing automatic in Florida?

No. The Court is required to evaluate a list of statutory factors to determine whether equal time-sharing is in the child's best interest. 

Is it "Abandonment" if I move out of the Marital Home?

No. You do not give up your rights to your share of the equity in the Marital Home if you move out. However, it may be difficult for you to move back in, if you have established that you have somewhere else to go. 

Is there Legal Separation in Florida?

No. However, there is a proceeding to obtain support unconnected with a Divorce. However, you can enter into a Separation Agreement that may be enforceable when the divorce is filed.   

Why do I have to share my retirement with my spouse if we divorce?

As part of a divorce, the parties are subject to "Equitable Distribution", which is the distribution of marital assets and debts. A marital asset or debt is one that was accumulated during the marriage. If a party contributed to a retirement plan, or was paid retirement benefits during the marriage, these funds were accumulated during the marriage, and are therefore marital assets subject to distribution.

Do I have to share my bank account in a divorce, even if we have always kept separate accounts?

All marital assets are subject to "Equitable Distribution". If a bank account was accumulated during the marriage, it will be subject to equitable distribution. The account is non-marital if it solely consists of funds received from an inheritance or gift outside the marriage, or if the account existed before the marriage and no marital funds were deposited (commingled) into the account. Funds earned from employment during a marriage (result of marital effort) are marital funds.

Do I have to pay child support if I have equal time-sharing?

Child Support is determined by the Florida Child Support Guidelines. The child support amount is determined based on both parties' net income, health insurance for the child(ren), daycare expenses, and number of overnights. If a party earns significantly more than the other, he/she will be subject to payment of child support even with equal time-sharing, unless the amount of health insurance or daycare paid by that party would be equivalent to the child support that would be required otherwise.

Can we waive child support?

Child Support may not be waived. If the parties agree that child support will not be exchanged, the party otherwise obligated to pay support would have to pay in some form, such as mortgage payments, child-related expenses, etc. If a party could earn the same as the other party if employed to his/her potential, the child support guidelines can be calculated using the imputed income.

Can I quit my job to avoid paying alimony or child support?

No. If you intentionally quit your job to avoid a support obligation, the Court can impute wages you are not actually earning when determining support obligations. You can be held in Contempt of Court if you don't pay your support obligations. 

Why would I have to pay alimony if my spouse is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed?

There are several factors that are considered when determining if alimony is appropriate. After consideration of the statutory factors, the Court would also weigh a party's "need" and the other party's "ability to pay". If a spouse has been the primary wage earner during the marriage, it is likely that spouse will be required to pay alimony, unless it can be proven that the other spouse has the ability to earn enough to support their needs (which may require the use of a vocational expert). The standard of living will be considered when evaluating the need of the parties. 

Why would I have to pay alimony for a short-term marriage?

Even very short term marriages (2 years or less) may be subject to temporary alimony (support during the proceedings evaluated by "Need and "Ability to Pay", Bridge-the-Gap (Transitional) Alimony for up to two (2) years, or even Rehabilitative Alimony (funds to allow a spouse to become rehabilitated or eligible for employment.  

Are disability payments counted as income for support purposes?

Even though disability payments are not subject to equitable distribution, they are counted when determining one's income for purposes of support.

Is my Wife entitled to my military pension even if we were married less than 10 years?

Yes, if you were married during any term of the military service, your spouse would be entitled to 50% of the marital interest of the military pension, which would be calculated using the number years of marriage divided by the number years of service multiplied by .5. However, DFAS will not pay a spouse directly, if the parties were married less than 10 years.

Can my spouse continue to provide health insurance for me after the divorce under his family plan?

Most health insurance plans will not consider a former spouse to be an eligible dependent under the plan.

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