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Family Law in St. Cloud: Important Things to Know About Divorce

Family legal matters tend to be some of the most highly contested and stressful cases because there is so much at stake. This field of law covers a wide range of topics, including things like divorce, child custody, and adoption. Below, we will learn a bit more about these areas of law, why you should work with an attorney specializing in family law in St. Cloud, and how to find one that will work well for your needs.

What You Should Know About Divorce

Divorce is unfortunately common, and it happens to a lot of couples. Even though you don’t get married with the intention of getting a divorce, you can’t predict what the future will bring. Below are some of the things you should know regarding divorce in the state.

To be eligible to file for divorce, you or your partner need to have lived in the state for at least six months before filing. The only exception to this would be if you are a member of the military and you live in Florida but are stationed outside of the state. The divorce paperwork needs to be filed in the county of residence of either of the spouses.

Florida, like many other states, offers no-fault divorce. This means that you don’t need to provide any reason for the divorce other than that the relationship is over.

Do You Need Grounds for Divorce?

Florida, as is the case with quite a few other states today, has no-fault rules for divorce. This means that you don’t need to meet any specific requirements before you can get divorced. If you or your spouse says that the marriage can’t be saved and you want a divorce, you can file. This is different from some other states where you need to provide grounds for a divorce.

Do You Need to Be a Resident?

Yes. Either you or your spouse will need to have been a Florida resident for at least six months before filing for divorce. There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you are a resident of Florida but you are serving in the military, you could still likely file for divorce. The same would be true if you are temporarily reassigned to a workplace outside of Florida, even though you still intend to live in Florida. If you are uncertain, be sure to speak with your family lawyer in St. Cloud about your situation.

What’s Included in the Financial Affidavit

Within the first 45 days of filing your petition for divorce in Florida, you need to include a signed financial affidavit. This will include information about your finances that needs to be disclosed. It’s important that you are honest with your affidavit and that you include as much information as possible. You should include information on your income, assets, tax returns, debts, bank statements, credit card statements, and personal financial statements.

What Does Equitable Distribution Mean?

Property in the state will generally be equitably distributed. This doesn’t mean that everything will be even; however, it means that the court wants to ensure that both spouses have as close to an equal share of marital property as possible. It tends to be a good idea for you and your spouse to get together in mediation or negotiation to determine how different properties should be split. This will give you control over it. If you don’t, the court will make this decision for you. You and your spouse might both be unhappy with the court’s decision. This is why negotiation is always such a good idea.

How Long Does a Divorce Take?

This is a common question. People don’t want to go through the divorce process any longer than they have to, but there is no easy answer to the question. This is because each case will be different. The minimum amount of time that it will take for an uncontested divorce where there are no disagreements is about four to five weeks after all of the paperwork has been completed and filed.

Uncontested divorces are those where the couple agrees on everything in the divorce case. This includes child support, parenting time, property division, etc. These types of cases require that both parties work together to resolve them as soon as possible.

When a divorce is contested, though, it can take much longer. Even if there are just one or two areas where the couple doesn’t agree, the case will likely take at least four to six months to be heard. In some cases, they can last much longer. The longer the case lasts, the more expensive it becomes for everyone who is involved.

What Is Alimony?

When getting divorced, it may be possible that one of the parties is entitled to alimony, but this is not always the case. Sometimes, the alimony might be rehabilitative. This means that it is temporary and is only used to help the person get back on their feet when they are going through a divorce. It could be beneficial for someone who did not work while they were married, for example.

There is also the option of permanent alimony. This is not as common, but it may be ordered by the court. It could also be put into an agreement between the spouses. For example, one spouse might agree to provide their ex with a certain amount of alimony for several months, years, or permanently. There may be other stipulations in the agreement, as well, such as what will end the alimony. The recipient getting remarried is a common trigger for stopping alimony, for example.

Judges have a lot of discretion when it comes to awarding alimony. If you believe you may be entitled to alimony, or that you may have to pay alimony, you will want to speak with your attorney.

Are Modifications Possible?

In some cases, after a divorce has been finalized, circumstances will change. You might find that health issues or financial capability changes, which means the current child support payments, alimony, or parenting plans may not work well any longer. In those cases, you can’t simply decide to pay less or not at all. You need to have a modification to the agreement.

Either party can apply to the court for a modification order that better represents the current circumstances. Talk with an attorney about the proper way to approach these situations.

You Should Work with an Attorney

Although there might be the temptation to attempt to DIY your divorce cases, this tends to be a bad idea for many reasons. For starters, you do not have the knowledge of the law on your side if you aren’t an attorney. Although you can research and look up a lot of information, you don’t understand how all of it works in a practical sense in the courts. There is a chance you could fill out paperwork incorrectly, turn paperwork in late—or not at all—and cause a host of other problems.

To reduce the risk of easily avoidable issues with your case, you should always work with an expert. Choose an attorney who has experience with cases like yours.

Of course, one of the main reasons you will want to work with a St. Cloud family law attorney is the peace of mind you will have. Going through these types of legal cases is often frustrating and frightening.

If you are trying to handle things on your own, you will often be worried you’ve done something wrong or that you have made a mistake. When you have an attorney handling your case, they can help to put you at ease.

Find a Great Family Law Attorney for Your Case

Knowing that you should work with an attorney rather than trying to handle these cases on your own is one thing. You also need to find attorneys who have the knowledge, experience, and empathy to help with your family law cases. One of the best ways to find a compatible attorney is by getting in touch with Orlando Law Group. Call (407) 512-4394 today to learn more.

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