Divorce Lawyer in West Palm Beach
If you are getting divorced, the least stressful way to get through the process while best protecting your future is with an experienced divorce lawyer in West Palm Beach. In Florida, divorce is referred to as a “dissolution of marriage.” Fault as a grounds for divorce has been eliminated in Florida. To dissolve a marriage in the state, the only requirement is for one of the parties to provide proof that the marital union is “irretrievably broken.” Court filing for divorce can be accomplished by either party. Some technical requirements are involved. It must be proved that marriage exists and that at least one spouse has been a Florida resident for the six month period immediately preceding the petition being filed.
Although fault is no longer grounds for dissolution of marriage, the reason for a marriage’s irretrievable breakdown may be considered in limited circumstances when determining the distribution of marital assets and debts, development of a parenting plan, and alimony.
In every divorce case, the parties, circumstances, and facts are unique. For that reason, specifics differ from one case to another. Whatever the details of the divorce you are facing, Roy & Associates, P.A., a divorce lawyer in West Palm Beach, can help. We have a team of attorneys practiced in Family Law, which encompasses handling divorces.
Dissolution of Marriage
Divorce is often traumatic and highly emotional for couples and their children. Oftentimes, spouses are unaware of their legal rights and obligations. A divorce lawyer in West Palm Beach is usually needed because other court personnel, including judges, are not allowed to provide legal advice, though they can answer basic questions. Only attorneys can provide legal advice.
During the course of proceedings for dissolution of marriage, court rules and statutory requirements must be strictly adhered to. Otherwise, you could permanently lose certain rights. This is one of the reasons it’s important to hire a divorce lawyer in West Palm Beach. The recommendation of the Florida Bar is to obtain a family law attorney’s services for the dissolution of marriage. A knowledgeable attorney can answer any questions you have, examine the details of your situation, and guide you in making decisions that are in the best interests of your children and you.
Division of Assets and Debts
The division of debts and assets is often the most complex area in the dissolution of marriage. Assets might include houses, cars, cash, personal property, retirement benefits, business interests, stocks, bonds, and other valuable assets. Debts are also referred to as liabilities and they include car loans, mortgages, credit card debt, and other monies you and your spouse owe to third parties.
In Florida, nonmarital and marital are the two types of assets and debts. In general, any debt or asset acquired during the marriage is considered marital and is subject to distribution. The parties may also have debts or assets that are awarded to only one party because they are considered nonmarital.
According to Florida case law and statutes, marital debts and assets must be divided equally between the parties, with each receiving half. The court is required to begin with the presumption that equitable distribution will occur between the parties. Ultimately, the court may distribute the marital estate equitably, though it will not necessarily turn out to be equal. Equitable distribution is determined based on a lengthy list of factors the court must consider, and it is decided before alimony is considered.
Parenting Plan Considerations
The public policy regarding parenting plans in divorce in Florida is to ensure that minor children have continuing and frequent contact with both parents. The parents are encouraged to share the joys and responsibilities of child-rearing. When considering parental issues, the court uses the best-interests-of-the-child standard. Before a final dissolution of marriage, both parties are required by Florida law to attend a parenting course.
In most cases, both parents each retain full responsibilities and rights towards their children. Parents must confer with one another for shared parenting and for making major decisions that affect the children’s welfare. In some cases, spouses agree about parenting arrangements and in others, the court may assign one parent to take responsibility for certain aspects of a child’s life, such as medical and dental needs, religion, and/or education. Only very rarely does the court assign sole parental responsibility to one parent? For that to happen, the court must determine that it would be a detriment to the child for the parents to share parental responsibilities.
An alimony award may be considered by the court, after equitable distribution. Either spouse may be granted alimony. For it to be awarded, the spouse requesting alimony must demonstrate that alimony is needed and that the other party is capable of paying. Once those two factors have been established, all relevant factors regarding the property type and amount of alimony to award must be determined by the court.
The length of the marriage may come into the court’s determination regarding alimony. There are several types of alimony, as follows:
- Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to help a spouse with identifiable, legitimate short-term needs.
- Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded to help a party establish the capacity for self-support, whether through education, training, work experience, or other means.
- Durational alimony may be awarded when it is determined that it’s inappropriate to award permanent periodic alimony.
The following are among the factors the court considers when making decisions regarding the type and amount of alimony a spouse is awarded:
- Length of marriage
- The prior standard of living of the parties.
- Each party’s income-producing capacity and financial resources.
- The services rendered in child-rearing, homemaking, and career-building of the other spouse.
- Time necessary to acquire sufficient training or education to secure appropriate employment.
Attorney’s Costs and Fees
In the dissolution of marriage cases, the costs and fees for a divorce lawyer in West Palm Beach can vary widely. In general, the more contested a case is and the more complex the issues, the more it will cost for a divorce.
The agreement you make with your attorney determines the cost and fees of litigation. In some cases, the court orders one party to pay all or part of the costs and fees of the other party, though this type of award should not be relied upon as a presumed basis for paying legal fees. Each party is primarily responsible to pay their own legal fees.
Contact Roy & Associates, P.A., Divorce Lawyer in West Palm Beach
For an experienced divorce lawyer in West Palm Beach, contact Roy & Associates. P.A. We are a full-service law firm, and we can help you navigate the legal process of divorce as smoothly as possible. Call us today at (561) 729-0095 or fill out a contact form for your initial consultation.