Experienced Orlando Family Law Attorney Answers Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Florida Divorce Matters

Below are answers to questions frequently encountered by Orlando family law attorney Michael De Canio as he advises and represents clients in divorce and related matters, such as child custody and alimony payments. If you are contemplating a divorce and have questions about the process, or if you are in the midst of divorce proceedings and need advice and representation, contact the Law Offices of Michael R. De Canio for immediate assistance.

What is the procedure for divorce in Florida?

The divorce process begins when one spouse files a petition for dissolution of marriage with the court. This petition must be filed in the county where at least one of the spouses resides (at least one of the spouses must have lived in Florida for at least six months prior to filing the petition, in order to satisfy the residency requirement). The petition must allege the grounds for the divorce, but it is not required to blame one spouse for bad acts or other misconduct. In most cases, a “no-fault” divorce may be granted on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken, without blaming either spouse for the breakdown of the marriage. Another ground for divorce is mental incapacity, which can apply if one of the spouses has been judged by a court to be incapacitated for at least three years before the petition is filed.

Once the petition and answer have been filed, the judge may make temporary orders on matters such as custody and support. A hearing date will be set, and the parties can use the interim time to prepare their case. Unless the spouses agree between themselves, the judge will decide at trial how to divide the marital property, whether to award alimony, and matters related to the children, such as parenting time and child support. Whether negotiating a settlement or litigating a contested divorce, competent legal advice is essential to a positive outcome.

What if one parent needs to move out of state for a job or other personal reasons?

A relocation out of state or a significant distance from the other spouse may require modification of certain domestic relations orders, such as the parenting plan. A parent should not try to relocate out of state with the children without first consulting with an attorney and determining whether court action may be required.

How does the judge decide whether to grant alimony in a divorce?

Alimony is not automatic but depends upon the consideration of a variety of factors, including:

  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The financial resources of each party, including their earning capacity
  • The division of marital property
  • The contribution each party made to the marriage, such as managing the household or taking care of the children so the other spouse could obtain education or advance a career
  • All sources of income available to the parties

Given the discretion of the judge in considering all of these factors, it is important to have a knowledgeable and skilled divorce attorney prepare and present a persuasive case if you are seeking or challenging an alimony award.

What are the different types of alimony and what do they mean?

There are six different types of alimony which may be awarded in a Florida divorce:

  • Permanent – sometimes awarded after long-term or medium-length marriages, permanent alimony allows a non-working spouse to continue at the same standard of living experienced in the marriage
  • Temporary – payment of support from the time the divorce petition is filed until the final entry of judgment
  • Bridge-the-gap – a short period of alimony (up to two years) to ease the transition for an ex-spouse
  • Rehabilitative – provides support according to a specific plan of rehabilitation showing it is necessary to allow a former spouse to become self-supporting through education, training or work experience
  • Lump-sum – as the name suggests, this is a one-time payment of support; this may be done to offset an inequality in the property settlement
  • Durational – appropriate for marriages of shorter length, this is the payment of support for a set period of time, as opposed to a permanent award

MRD Family Law | Divorce

If you need help resolving a family law dispute while protecting your family's physical, financial and emotional well-being, contact the Law Office of Michael R. De Canio today for an initial consultation.

14 + 2 =