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What is Family Law?

- In Florida, Family Law consists of all legal issues facing a family, not just the divorce proceeding. Divorce simply means the dissolution of the marital relationship. There are many other aspects in addition to the divorce that must be resolved by the parties or the Judge. For example, the Time-Sharing Agreement ( also known as Custody and Visitation), Alimony, Child Support, and Property Distribution to name a few. Additionally, after the Final Judgment of Divorce is completed, there may be Modifications of Alimony, Child Support, or Time-Sharing requested by either party. For a full list of all of the Family Law issues that arise as a result of Divorce, see our Areas of Practice section and talk with your Family Law Attorney at Marsh Family Law.

What is the difference between a "Contested" Divorce and an "Uncontested Divorce"?

Many people are able to fully resolve all of their issues pursuant to a Marital Settlement Agreement. This is called an "Uncontested Divorce" since the parties are not contesting any of the provisions regarding their Dissolution of Marriage. To be able to resolve all issues between the parties is the best possible scenario for both parties and the minor children, if any. Typically, however, uncontested divorces occur when there are no minor children and no property to divide.

Conversely, when there are any unresolved and contested issues as a result of the Dissolution of Marriage, this is called a "Contested Divorce". This means that the parties were unable to agree upon some issues regarding Custody, Time-Sharing, Alimony, Child Support, or Property Division, to name a few.

How long will the Divorce take?

- In Florida, there is no “waiting” or “cooling-off” period. If you have already signed a Marital Settlement Agreement, you must wait for 20 days after you file your divorce paperwork for the Judge to enter a Final Judgment of Divorce unless there is good cause shown. If you have not yet reached an Agreement with your spouse, it may take a few months to more than a year depending upon the complexity of the issues and the cooperation between the parties.

How much will my Divorce cost?

- The total fees in your case depend upon how many and how difficult the issues are in your case. Once you have scheduled an initial consultation, we can determine some estimates based upon your particular case. There are many ways that you as a client, can assist in lowering your fees which we can discuss at your consultation.

Who usually gets Custody of the children in Florida?

- Unless the parents agree, the Judge will decide the amount of time the children live with each parent. Under Florida law, we have now eliminated the titles of “custodial parent” or “visitation”. We now have a “time-sharing” schedule which is agreed upon by the parents or ordered by the Judge if the parents are unable to agree. The time-sharing schedule sets forth when the children will be with either parent including holidays and summer vacation. We can discuss many different schedule scenarios depending upon your children’s needs, your schedule, and the children’s school and activities.

How do we divide our property?

- The Judge first determines which assets and liabilities are “marital” and “non-marital”. Then, the Judge will start off by dividing those assets and liabilities equally unless there are circumstances that warrant an unequal division. In the absence of a prior settlement agreement (either before or after the marriage), there are many factors the Judge considers when labeling an asset or liability marital or non-marital. Likewise, there are many factors the Judge will consider which may make it unfair for a spouse to get half of the assets. These complex factors will be discussed at your consult.

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