If you are thinking about divorce, need assistance with a child custody agreement, then you know how difficult it can be to try to make important decisions without help or guidance. You may be having a hard time reaching resolutions with your spouse, partner, or family member. The decisions you make now will change your life, and the life of your family for years to come. D'Escoubet Law is here to take you through this process and reach the resolution that is in you and your family's best interest.
Equitable Distribution of Assets
In Florida, assets and liabilities are distributed pursuant to the Equitable Distribution statute. The statute does not require that assets be divided equally. Equitable distribution requires a fair distribution of all marital assets and liabilities. All assets accrued during the marriage, including real estate, bank accounts, retirement accounts and business interests must be divided equitably. Title of assets is irrelevant for purposes of equitable distribution. All debts incurred during the marriage are also considered marital and must be apportioned between the parties.
Mediation is a process in which the parties attempt to reach an agreement before going to court. Mediation is now a mandatory part of most divorce processes, and the court will usually not grant you a trial until you have attended mediation. In mediation both parties will be present with your attorneys, and a mediator. Mediators are trained to help resolve issues, and can be very effective in getting parties to reach an agreement. Mediators are usually experienced family law attorneys who are either still practicing family law or who do exclusively mediation work.
Mediation is the best way for divorcing spouses to resolve the roadblocks in their divorce. In some circumstances parties choose to attend mediation before filing for their divorce.
Mediation is the best alternative to trial. Everything that occurs in mediation is confidential. The Court will either be advised that you reached a settlement or not.
How Do I get Primary Custody of My Child?
Parents usually want to know what is a standard time sharing schedule. There is no standard time sharing schedule. Each case is decided on a case by case basis. One parent does not have greater rights than the other. Even though every case is different, courts have been willing to consider equal time sharing plans when those plans are in the best interests of the children.
Florida no longer requires parental designations of custody. In prior years one parent was awarded primary custody, and the other parent has secondary custody. Florida no longer has such designations. Florida now requires that all cases involving minor children have a parenting plan. A parenting plan must include details of how the parents will share and be responsible for the care of their children. The parenting plan must include a time-sharing schedule outlining when the children will spend time with each parent, issues of schooling, extracurricular activities, and the manner that the parents will use to communicate with the children. If the parents are unable to agree as to what will be included in a parenting plan, the court will make that determination.
The best interests of the children are paramount in developing Parenting Plans. Determination of the best interests of the child shall be made by evaluating all of the factors affecting the welfare and interests of the minor children as outlined in Florida Statutes, Chapter 61.13 (3). Below you will find some helpful factors in determining this and they include the following:
(a) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.
(b) The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.
(c) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.
(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
(e) The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan. This factor does not create a presumption for or against relocation of either parent with a child.
(f) The moral fitness of the parents.
(g) The mental and physical health of the parents.
(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.
(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
(j) The demonstrated knowledge, capacity, and disposition of each parent to be informed of the circumstances of the minor child, including, but not limited to, the child's friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and favorite things.
(k) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime.
(l) The demonstrated capacity of each parent to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of issues and activities regarding the minor child, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the child.
(m) Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regardless of whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has been brought.
(n) Evidence that either parent has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.
(o) The particular parenting tasks customarily performed by each parent and the division of parental responsibilities before the institution of litigation and during the pending litigation, including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by third parties.
(p) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child's school and extracurricular activities.
(q) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.
(r) The capacity and disposition of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child.
(s) The developmental stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child's developmental needs.
(t) Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule.
A parent cannot simply move out of the state with a minor child, either before or after the divorce. In accordance with Florida Statutes 61.13001, If a parent wants to relocate more than 50 miles from her his or her principal place of residence with the child, he or she must first obtain a court order allowing the relocation, or obtain written agreement to the relocation by the other parent.
If the parent objects to the relocation, the statute prescribes a specific process that needs to be followed in order for a court to determine whether the relocation will be allowed.? If the parent objecting to the relocation is notified that the other parent seeks to relocate, the party objecting must follow the statutory requirements objecting to the relocation, or may waive his or her rights to object to the relocation.
A relocation will only be allowed if the court finds that it is in the best interest of the children. Relocation cases are some of the most difficult cases to litigate, and the most difficult cases to settle. The parent seeking to relocate must have extenuating reasons for seeking to move. A parent seeking to remarry and relocate alone will be not considered a sufficient reason to allow the relocation of the children.
Florida Law allows the court to determine whether one spouse should pay some or all of the other spouse's attorney's fees. The award is made based on the ability of one spouse to pay those fees, and the need for fees by the other spouse. The purpose of the law is to make sure both parties have similar and adequate legal representation. It is common for a spouse with greater income to be required to pay the attorney's fees for the other spouse. However, the client is primarily responsible for the payment of attorney's fees and will in almost all cases have to come up with the initial retainer for his or her attorney. The amount of the retainer you will be charged varies based on the complexities of the case.
Child Custody - Child Support - Cohabitation Agreements - Divorce Mediation - Enforcement - Time Sharing - Alimony - Equitable Distribution - Modification -
Divorce - Paternity - Postnuptial Agreements - Relocation - Antenuptial Agreements