Requirements for Florida Divorces
To file for divorce in Florida at least one spouse must be a resident of the State or a member of an armed force stationed in the State. If both you and your spouse agree that there are "irreconcilable differences," and there should be a divorce, you can agree in writing to end the marriage. If one of you denies that the marriage is broken beyond repair OR if you have a child, the court may order counseling with a marriage counselor, priest or rabbi, or psychologist for up to three months.
How do I Begin the Process of Divorce in Florida?
A Florida divorce legally begins when you file a "Petition for Dissolution of Marriage" with the local circuit court. The court serves the other spouse with the papers and gives him / her time to respond. If both of you agree on division of property, debt and responsibilities for children, the divorce can be finalized without need for a trial.
What Are Considered as Marital Assets?
Any assets obtained during the marriage will be divided equitably (fairly) upon divorce. Any assets you had before marriage may be considered "non-marital assets" if they were kept separate from property acquired during the marriage. You and your spouse can each retain your non-marital assets.
How does Florida determine the Division of marital property?
Division of Marital Property
A judge will divide assets equally unless there is a basis for unequal distribution. The judge will consider both you and your spouse's economic circumstances and the contributions each of you made to the marriage (including care for children and your marital home). If either of you wants to keep your marital home to live in with a child from the marriage, that may also be a factor for unequal distribution.
Will I have to pay Alimony?
Alimony is an extension of the obligation for spouses to support each other financially during the marriage. In Florida, a court can order alimony if it is "well-founded." Factors the court will look at include the standard of living during the marriage, the length of the marriage, and the age and physical condition of each spouse.
What if we can’t agree on Child Custody?
If you and your spouse can't agree on child custody, the court will make a decision based on what is in the "best interests" of the child. Unless there is a reason that it would be detrimental to the child's upbringing, the court will usually grant shared responsibility. Sometimes the court will give one parent responsibility over specific aspects of a child's welfare, such as primary residence, education or medical care. The court will consider factors such as the moral fitness of you and your spouse as parents, your abilities to provide for the child and the preference of the child.
What if we can’t agree on Child Support?
Divorce laws in Florida include child support guidelines that judges use to figure out the support needed for a child and how much each parent has to pay. The court looks at both parents' incomes and the child's health and child care costs. Florida's standard needs table lists support amounts based on the child's age and the parents' incomes. The court can also set aside joint or separate assets of the parents in a trust or fund for future support and education.
Which Documents will I need if I file for Divorce?
The court will need to know about all of your assets in order to divide them. Make copies of tax returns, bank statements, mortgage documents and any other financial information possible. Also, take inventory of your major household and family possessions. A detailed household budget will help the court determine how much temporary support can be paid as well as if either you or your spouse can realistically afford the marital home on your own.
How are Debts handle in a Divorce?
Any debts incurred before the marriage, such as educational debt, is not considered when dividing debts. Debts will be divided equitably. If you have a mortgage, the court may order both of you to split the debt. If you stay in the home the mortgage may be restructured to match your situation accordingly.
What is the difference between Uncontested and Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce is when the spouses are unable to mutually agree on the terms of their divorce and instead use lawyers and the court to reach an agreement. By using the court to decide the terms, their disagreements do not prevent them from legally ending their marriage.
An uncontested divorce, on the other hand, is a divorce where the spouses agree on all major issues affecting their marriage. However, not all couples qualify for an uncontested divorce: minor children, minimum residency requirements, and spousal support can impact your ability to obtain an uncontested divorce in Florida.
Is Florida a No-Fault Divorce state?
Yes. This means that either party need only show that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” meaning that it cannot be saved under any circumstances. It is therefore not necessary to establish that one spouse cheated or has abandoned the marriage.
How much Child Support will I get in my Florida Divorce?
In Florida, the amount of child support a parent may receive (or pay), is based on state guidelines. These guidelines are standards used to figure out the support needed and are designed to help make sure the support amounts are fair. The Florida Child Support Guidelines consider each parent's income, the child’s health care and child care costs, and the standard needs for the child.
What is my injury claim worth?
While every case is different, Thayer Law will evaluate your case and help you understand what you may be able to recover to compensate for your losses after injury. This may include past, present, and future medical expenses, lost income due to the other's negligence, and past, present and future pain & suffering.
Do I need to hire a personal injury attorney?
Personal injury claims involve significant time and resources. The process can be complicated and the other side often has a team of lawyers to fight back. Let Thayer Law represent your rights throughout the personal injury claim process. You pay us nothing unless you win.
When do I have to file an accident lawsuit in Florida?
Under Florida's statute of limitations for personal injury cases, you have 4 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in Florida's civil courts.
How much will it cost to prosecute my personal injury case?
Case-related expenses can run from $10,000 to much more. At Thayer Law, we cover the costs of these expenses up front, and you owe us nothing unless you recover a favorable verdict or settlement.
How long will it take to settle my personal injury case?
Depending on the nature of your personal injury claim, the area, and the details involved, it could take anywhere from 6 months to a few years.
Can a case be settled without my permission?
No. While we will advise you as to whether a settlement may be in your best interests it is up to you to make the final decision on any settlement offer.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida?
A personal representative of the decedent's estate must bring an action for wrongful death. The personal representative, often named in the will, can be a family member (spouse, child) or anyone else whom the surviving family members select.
Can I file a lawsuit if I was injured in Florida but I live in another state?
Yes. Even if you live out of state, you can sue in the county where the accident occurred.
What should I do after a motorcycle accident?
Report the accident to the police immediately.
Ask all witnesses for name, address, phone number and email.
Have a family member photograph/record the accident scene and the damage to your motorcycle from all sides. These pictures can be invaluable in helping us to maximize your recovery.
You have a duty in Florida to cooperate with your insurance company; however, you have no such duty to cooperate with the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident.
Take pictures (or have a family member do so) of your injuries, as well as bandages, braces or casts.
Do I need to wear a motorcycle helmet in Florida?
No, but there are certain requirements you must meet in order to not wear a helmet:
Must be 21 or older, AND
Must have proof that you are covered by a $10,000 medical insurance policy to cover any injuries that may arise as a result of a crash.
Do I need to wear protective eyewear in Florida?
Yes. Anyone operating a motorcycle in Florida is required to use protective eyewear such as a visor, goggles or motorcycle glasses.
If I am injured in a motorcycle accident, what are my insurance options?
Understanding your Florida Insurance
PIP - All Florida drivers are required to carry at least $10,000 of PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance. Regardless of fault, PIP pays for medical bills and expenses if you are injured in an automobile or motorcycle accident.
The insurance company is required to pay 80% of these medical bills up to a $10,000 maximum.
The remaining 20% is paid for by the Bodily Injury coverage of the at-fault driver.
PIP also pays for 60% of your lost wages up to $10,000.
You must seek medical care within 14 days of the accident in order to be covered under PIP.
If a doctor deems that you do not have an EMC (Emergency Medical Condition) your coverage may be limited to $2,500.
Bodily Injury - After an accident, the Bodily Injury insurance of the at-fault driver covers you for your injuries.
Bodily Injury insurance covers the amount not covered by your own PIP Insurance.
Bodily Injury insurance also covers you for past and future lost wages, in addition to pain and suffering.
Bodily Injury insurance is not required to be carried under Florida law.
Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist - Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage is optional in Florida.
We suggest that you carry as much UM/UIM coverage as you can afford, which can come in especially helpful after a motorcycle accident or car accident where the other driver has no insurance or only carries the minimum BI coverage.
You can make a claim against your own UM/UIM coverage in a situation where the other driver is uninsured or does not have enough Bodily Injury insurance to cover your injuries.
UM/UIM also covers you from a hit & run driver, when you are walking as a pedestrian, or when riding a bicycle.