Divorce and related family law matters can be as stressful as serious car accidents or other traumatic events. They often involve the termination or redefinition of the most intimate relationships of our lives. If you or a loved one is involved in a family law matter in Florida, you should consult the Fort Lauderdale family law lawyers at the Gainza Law Group. Our firm has caring and compassionate attorneys who work to help clients achieve a favorable, stable outcome so that they can move forward with their lives. We handle issues related to divorce, separation, pre- and post-marital agreements, child custody, alimony, property division, and domestic violence.Dissolving a Marriage in Florida
In order to file for divorce in Florida, either you or your spouse must have lived in Florida for at least six months before filing. The divorce petition can be filed with the circuit court in the county where either you or your spouse lives. Once a divorce petition is filed and served, the respondent has 20 days to answer it. When the spouse does not respond, the petitioner can file a motion for default. Some divorces are uncontested, which can result in the setting of a final hearing.
In other cases, a simplified dissolution procedure may be used. To use this simplified procedure, the spouses must agree that they cannot save the marriage, there cannot be any minor or dependent children from the marriage, the wife cannot be pregnant, the spouses must agree about dividing property and debts, and neither spouse must seek alimony, among other requirements.
Sometimes a divorce is contested. This means that the spouses cannot agree on one or more issues. They may be able to reach a settlement through negotiation and mediation. However, if they cannot agree on certain issues, a judge will determine those issues. A family law attorney can help Fort Lauderdale residents make sure that their position is thoroughly presented during this critical time.Property Division
When it comes to property division, Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means that the marital estate needs to be divided in a fair and equitable way. To determine what is fair, the court will consider what each spouse contributed to the marriage, each spouse's economic circumstances, how long the marriage lasted, whether either spouse's career was interrupted, whether it is desirable for one spouse to keep an asset free of the other's claims, any contribution of either spouse to the other’s education or work, whether it is desirable for one spouse to keep the marital home for a dependent child, and whether there was intentional waste or destruction of marital assets by either spouse within the two years before the divorce.Alimony
Either party may be granted alimony based on the need of the spouse who is asking and the other's capacity to pay it. Alimony can be rehabilitative, durational, permanent, or simply to bridge the gap. Alimony awards can be structured as lump sums or periodic payments, or a combination. Our Fort Lauderdale family law attorneys can help you pursue a request for alimony if you need it or fight back against your spouse’s pursuit of alimony if it is inappropriate.Child Custody (Timesharing)
Often, child custody (known as timesharing in Florida) becomes a heated issue during a divorce. Florida's public policy is that minor children should be able to frequently see both parents, and both parents should share the obligations and rights of raising a child. Unless it would be detrimental to the children, there is a preference for providing parents with shared responsibilities.
Factors to be considered in determining a child's best interests include the demonstrated ability of each parent to consider and act on a child's needs rather than their own, the demonstrated ability of each parent to foster and encourage a close parent-child relationship, the anticipated division of parental responsibilities after a divorce, how long the child has lived in a stable environment and whether it is appropriate to continue, the moral fitness of each parent, the physical and mental health of each parent, the child's community and school records, and geographic issues.Contact a Knowledgeable Family Law Lawyer in the Fort Lauderdale Area
If you are faced with a family law dispute in South Florida, you should call the Gainza Law Group. We provide dedicated legal representation to people in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties, as well as across the state. Our firm represents divorcing spouses in cities such as Pompano Beach, Miami, Hialeah, West Palm Beach, Coral Springs, Hollywood, Lauderhill, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Sunrise, Miami Beach, Miami Gardens, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Cape Coral, Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Daytona Beach. Call us at (954) 463-1210 or use our online form to set up an appointment. We also handle personal injury cases arising from a wide range of accidents.