When entering into a divorce action, your marital relationship legally changes. During this period of transition, it is important to understand the related laws and what your rights are.
Attorney Destiney R. Smith works one on one with each client to develop an individual case plan. Based on the details of your divorce situation, you can also ask your attorney whether there are any other specific rights you have under Florida or interstate jurisdictional laws.
It is important to disclose all information related to your finances, living arrangements and children, so your attorney can advise you about relevant laws and how they apply to your rights.
Know Your Rights
Divorce rights that apply to both spouses include:
Rights against your spouse dissipating marital property.
- Dissipation refers to a spouse’s concealing, transferring, wasting, depleting or destroying marital property with the intention of doing so for that spouse’s advantage and to the other spouse’s detriment.
Rights against moving your minor children outside of the court’s jurisdiction to influence custody decisions.
- Florida courts determine jurisdiction for custody cases during or subsequent to divorce based on the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).
- A parent cannot move with a child and subsequently ― a number of days or a month later ― file for divorce in the new state.
- Courts base jurisdiction on the child's home state (continuous residency for six months) or when there is no home state they base it on the state where the parent and child have significant connections.
- Florida law requires parents who want to move more than 50 miles away with the child for any period longer than 60 days to inform the other parent prior to moving. When you and the other parent agree to a move for a longer time period, the agreement must be in writing and approved by the court.
- Contested moves are subject to a hearing where the judge decides whether to allow the relocation or not.
Rights against domestic violence.
- You can obtain an emergency protective order and/or a temporary restraining order, which are court orders that protect you against violence from your spouse.
- The court may allow you and your children to relocate to a safe place where you can be shielded from further violence.
- The spouse accused of domestic violence also has the right to prove innocence from a false order that potentially jeopardizes custody awards or would restrict visitation.
Rights to temporary court orders.
- Your lawyer can petition the court on your behalf to obtain temporary orders that prohibit your spouse from incurring debt on credit accounts that are in your name alone.
- You can receive temporary orders for custody or visitation, child support and spousal support while the divorce proceedings are in progress.
In Florida there is no mathematical calculation in determining alimony such as there is with calculating child support.
The Court Has Broad Discretion To Decide:
- Entitlement to Alimony
- Amount of Alimony
- Duration of Alimony
- Type of Alimony
There are, however, perimeters to which the court is bound.
In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the court may grant alimony to either party, which alimony may be bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, or permanent in nature or any combination of these forms of alimony.
In any award of alimony, the court may order periodic payments or payments in lump sum or both.
The court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded.
In all dissolution actions, the court shall include findings of fact relative to the factors supporting an award or denial of alimony.
Award of Alimony or Maintenance
In determining whether to award alimony or maintenance, the court shall first make a specific factual determination as to whether either party has an actual need for alimony or maintenance and whether either party has the ability to pay alimony or maintenance.
If the court finds that a party has a need for alimony or maintenance and that the other party has the ability to pay alimony or maintenance, then in determining the proper type and amount of alimony or maintenance the court shall consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to:
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The duration of the marriage.
- The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
- The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
- The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.
- The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.
- The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.
- The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.
- All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.
- Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
Scribbr. (n.d.). The 2022 Florida Statutes - Alimony.
Retrieved 12/6/22, from http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes