Florida Divorce Attorneys Serving Clients in Tampa
Making the decision to get divorced is never easy, but it is often a decision that you know is best for you and for your family. When you are planning to file for divorce in Florida, or when you have been served with divorce papers after your spouse has filed, it is essential to seek advice from an experienced Tampa divorce lawyer. There are many complicated legal issues in every Florida divorce, including no-fault filing requirements and eligibility and property division. Many Florida divorces involve complicated financial matters like alimony and child support. When you share minor children with your ex, you will also need to plan for a child custody case as part of your Tampa divorce. At Carman and Bevington, our Tampa divorce lawyers can assist you with a wide range of Florida divorce matters.
Types of Divorce Issues We Handle in Tampa
The dedicated divorce attorneys in Tampa at Carman and Bevington represent clients in many types of legal issues arising out of divorce in Florida, including but not limited to the following:
- Determining your eligibility to file for divorce in Florida.
- Pleading requirements for a no-fault divorce.
- Contested versus uncontested divorce.
- Equitable distribution of marital property.
- Complex property division, including in high net worth divorce and divorce for business owners in Florida.
- Alimony eligibility and calculations.
- Child custody, or time-sharing.
- Best interests of the child factors.
- Child support income shares calculations.
- Enforcing divorce orders, such as property division, alimony, time-sharing, or child support; and
- Modifications of divorce orders after a substantial change in circumstances.
No-Fault Divorce in Tampa, Florida
Florida is a no-fault divorce state, which means that neither party should be planning to allege fault to get divorced or to raise issues of fault when filing for divorce. Instead, under Florida divorce law, the party who files a petition for the dissolution of marriage must plead that “the marriage is irretrievably broken.”
To be eligible for a no-fault divorce, you do not need to show that either spouse is at fault. Instead, to be eligible for a no-fault divorce, you only must plead that “the marriage is irretrievably broken” and meet the residency requirements, which require that at least one of the spouses has been a Florida resident for at least six months.
Tampa Uncontested Versus Contested Divorce
Divorces in Florida can be uncontested or contested.
Uncontested divorces tend to be quicker, and they often cost the spouses less money in legal fees and court costs. In an uncontested divorce, the parties have reached an agreement about every issue, from the division of marital assets and debts to time-sharing if the parties share minor children from their marriage. When a divorce is uncontested, the parties do not have to have a judge rule on any issues, thus limited time is spent in court.
Contested divorces are those in which the parties have at least one issue concerning their divorce in dispute. Even if a divorce begins with certain issues in dispute, the parties may be able to resolve those issues and have an uncontested divorce through negotiations or by attending family mediation.
Equitable Distribution of Marital Property in Your Divorce in Tampa
Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means all marital assets and debts must be divided in a divorce in a way that the court determines is equitable to both spouses. You should recognize that the word “equitable” does not mean “equal.” While equitable distribution could in theory result in a 50/50 split of marital property, an equal division is not necessarily an equitable distribution. Instead, Florida courts consider a range of factors to decide what kind of distribution of marital assets and debts would be fair to both parties.
In order to divide marital property equitably, all assets and debts must be classified as separate property or marital property. In general, separate property includes any assets or debts that a spouse acquired or accrued before the marriage, as well as assets given to one of the spouses by a third party during the marriage as a gift or through an inheritance. Separate property is not divisible in a divorce. Marital property generally includes all other property, although certain assets and debts can be excluded from division through an enforceable premarital agreement.
Alimony in a Tampa Divorce
When one spouse requests alimony in a Florida divorce, the court will first need to determine whether alimony or maintenance is appropriate. Then, if the court decides that alimony is appropriate, it can award a variety of forms of alimony, such as:
- Bridge-the-gap alimony.
- Rehabilitative alimony.
- Durational alimony; or
- Permanent alimony.
While fault does not play a role in the grounds for divorce in Florida, evidence of adultery can be considered in the court’s decision to award alimony.
Child Custody and Child Support in a Tampa Divorce
When you have minor children from your marriage and start the process of getting divorced in Florida, you should know that your divorce case will need to include child custody and child support. Child custody in Florida is known as time-sharing, and decisions about time-sharing are based on what is in the best interests of the child.
Florida now uses an “income shares” model for child support, which means that both parents’ incomes are used to calculate a total child support obligation. Each parent’s obligation is then based on their individual income and other relevant factors.
Contact an Experienced Tampa Divorce Attorney Today
If you want to learn more about filing for divorce in Florida, or if you are in the early stages of the divorce planning process, you should seek advice from one of our experienced Tampa divorce attorneys. Florida divorce law can be complex, even in circumstances where the spouses are on relatively amicable terms and are able to reach an agreement concerning most issues in the divorce. When a divorce is contentious, the legal issues become even more complicated. Do not hesitate to get in touch with a lawyer at our firm to learn more about how we can assist you. Contact Carman and Bevington online today or call our Tampa office at 813-742-3444 for assistance with your Florida divorce.