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Florida Divorce Laws Divorce is an extremely emotional and stressful event.  The continuous wave of emotions often clouds judgment.  Therefore, I could not stress to you enough the importance of hiring an experienced Florida divorce attorney to assist you through this process.  With that said, I will quickly jump into the most common divorce topics.

In the event you are in a contested Florida divorce and your case goes to trial, the Court will address the issues in P.E.A.C.E. format. 

P – Parenting
E – Equitable Distribution
A – Alimony
C – Child Support
E – Everything Else


If your divorce involves children, this is where we start.  The first thing to determine is what responsibilities each parent will have regarding care of the children.  Unless there are substantial problems with your spouse’s parenting skills, Florida divorce judges will typically award each parent with Shared Parental Responsibility.  Shared parental responsibility is not about custody or timesharing.  Shared parental responsibility means that both parents are mutually involved in all decisions.  In Florida, the family law court requires a Parenting Plan when there are children involved in a divorce.  The Parenting Plan addresses when the kids will stay with Dad and when will they be with Mom.  The Parenting Plan also addresses when pick-up and drop-off will occur, which school the children will attend, etc.  The issues are plentiful and all issues are being addressed based on the best interests of the children.   Child support is not addressed at this time, but will be addressed later.  Once the Parenting issues are resolved, the Court moves on to “E”.

Equitable distribution

In a Florida divorce, equitable distribution is the division of all marital assets and liabilities.  This includes checking and savings accounts, the marital home, retirement accounts, 401(k), cars, household items, credit card debt, etc.  At this stage, the Florida divorce court needs to determine: 1) Which property is non-marital; 2) which property is marital; and 3) how do we divide it?  Florida divorce laws strongly favor an equal distribution of all martial assets and liabilities. 

However, equal does not always mean 50/50.  After the assets and liabilities are divided, the divorce trial determines if the Husband or Wife should receive alimony – “A”.


Florida alimony, also called spousal support, is awarded in divorce cases in which one spouse has a need for support and the other spouse has the ability to pay support.   Alimony or spousal support awards are unpredictable.   Unlike child support, alimony attorneys do not have guidelines to calculate how much alimony should be paid.  Florida alimony laws list the factors a divorce court will consider when awarding alimony.  The factors for alimony in a Florida divorce are as follows:


a.       The standard of living established during the marriage.
b.       The length of the marriage.
c.       The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
d.       The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
e.       The earning potential, educational levels, skills, and employability of each spouse.
f.        The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.
g.       The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.
h.       The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.
i.        All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.
j.        Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.

Once a family law judge determines that a spouse will be awarded alimony, the judge then must decide what type of alimony is being awarded, how much the alimony payment will be and for how long.  Once the alimony is determined, then the court can calculate child support guidelines.


Child Support

How much is child support?  Florida has created child support guidelines to determine how much Florida child support will be paid from one parent to another.  During a Florida divorce trial, the “P” is now used to help determine the amount of child support.   A parent who has 50/50 time-sharing will pay less child support than a parent who only has 2-3 overnights every other week.   Other factors the court uses to determine child support is the amount of income of each parent after factoring in any alimony payment, the number of children, the number of overnights each parent will have with the children, cost of health insurance and any cost for daycare. 


Everything else

This is the area that covers any divorce issues that did not fit into the above categories, such as attorney’s fees.  In a typical Florida divorce, each spouse will request that his/her attorney’s fees be paid by the other spouse.  Florida divorce attorney fees may be awarded to the spouse with less income.  The idea is that each spouse should have the same access to a divorce lawyer.


Getting a divorce in Florida

This means that you legally end all marital ties, to release you and your spouse from marital obligations. Florida divorce laws are not as complex as many other states. They simply require for the party filing the divorce to have been a resident of the state for a minimum period of six months.

See also: How to File for Divorce in Florida


No-fault divorce

The no-fault Florida divorce means that there is no necessity for the filing party to present a reason or proof of the spouses' fault. Divorce can be filed on the grounds that you had an indifference with your spouse that has caused irreversible damage to the marriage. However, “fault” mightt come into the picture in some circumstances where the court is finalizing judgments on alimony, parental responsibilities, distribution of liabilities and assets and/or alimony.

Any one of the parties may make the decision to file a divorce an put an end to the marriage, and cannot prevent the other part from going ahead with the divorce. In fact, you may even go ahead with the divorce hearing in the event that your partner is not present or does not wish to participate in the divorce proceedings to receive a default judgment. Annulments have a similar effect as divorces legally, they claim that the marital union had never been valid from the start. You may qualify under annulments as well, depending on the process that applies to your case.

Child custody and support

The court makes judgments on custody matter that apply to minors, keeping the best interests of the child in mind. The court may grant rotational custody, shared parental responsibilities or give one party parental responsibilities related to several aspects, after carefully evaluating a number of factors. This includes factors like:

  • Emotional ties between the child and the parents
  • The parents' ability to provide food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and other needs to the child
  • The duration for which the child has been in a stable environment, and desires to continue
  • The parents' moral fitness
  • The parent's mental and physical health
  • The child's preference, provided the child has the understanding, intelligence, and the ability to express the same
  • Domestic abuse or violence evidence


As far as child support goes, the court may ask either or both of the parties to pay child support as per the applicable state guidelines.

Filing for a divorce in Florida

Many individuals are often unaware of legal obligations and rights that follow with divorces. A lawyer can enlighten them and protect their rights and interests while representing them in the divorce case. In case the court rules and statutory requirements are not adhered, marriage partners may permanently lose some of their rights. An experienced lawyer can sit with you and analyze the situation at hand and make plans that would be suitable for you and your family. Divorce can be obtained through either regular or simplified dissolution of marriage in Florida.

If you have any questions about divorce laws in Florida or would like to speak to us about your options, please contact us at (813) 518-7411. We represent clients during stressful and difficult times in their lives. We are empathetic, responsive, and push for a quick resolution. We look forward to helping you resolve your issue quickly, fairly, and in a way that will help you to return to the stable, predictable life that you deserve.

Getting a divorce in Florida

This means that you legally end all marital ties, to release you and your spouse from marital obligations. Florida divorce laws are not as complex as many other states. They simply require for the party filing the divorce to have been a resident of the state for a minimum period of six months.

See also:
Understanding both your rights and options are vital to a fair and equitable outcome. Lean on us. Use our expertise.