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Divorce (Dissolution of Marriage)

Dissolution of marriage is the legal term for a process of terminating a marriage between two people. Commonly called a divorce, the process also legally divides marital assets and debts and determines the care and custody of any minor children. Each state addresses these issues differently, but most states follow the same basic principles and use relatively uniform standards.

Florida is a "no-fault" divorce state, which means a spouse is not required to prove that the other caused the breakdown of the marriage. Either you or your spouse may obtain a divorce, even if one of you does not consent to a divorce.

In most divorces, the primary issues to be decided are division of property, alimony (spousal support), and, if there are children, child support and child custody/time sharing. When spouses agree on how to resolve these issues, whether by way of mediation or otherwise, they can usually obtain a divorce quickly.

In many cases divorcing spouses have disputes about their post-marital financial arrangements and other issues pertaining to their children. Division of property, alimony and child custody are often hotly contested issues in divorce proceedings.

Divorce Attorneys in Boca Raton, FL

Divorce can be a stressful situation for everyone involved. If either you or your spouse is contemplating a divorce, you need an experienced family law attorney to serve as your advocate and help you negotiate the best possible end to your marriage, a result that protects you, your children and your finances going forward.

The lawyers at Yaffa & Associates have two decades of experience representing people involved in divorce proceedings. We represent both men and women in Boca Raton and all parts of Palm Beach County, including West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Garden, Delray Beach, and the surrounding areas

Contact Yaffa & Associates now at (561) 276-3880 for a no obligation consultation. We will completely evaluate your situation and advise you on the next steps to take to achieve the best final result.


Florida Divorce Information Center

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in either divorce or annulment.  These studies show that Florida’s divorce rate is consistently higher than the national average (at approximately 60 percent). In fact, Florida’s divorce rate ranks amongst the top ten highest rates in the United States. 

People considering the possibility of divorce no doubt have many questions swirling in their minds. A divorce usually means a change in lifestyle for everyone, especially if there are children. Florida law attempts to achieve an equitable distribution of marital assets and debts between divorcing spouses while also providing for the "best interests" of children.

A few of the most common questions raised by people considering a divorce include:


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Preparing for a Divorce in Florida

By preparing for a divorce before it actually happens, you can reduce much of the stress and conflict that many endure during the divorce process. Planning ahead allows you to make sound decisions and puts you in the direction of preparing for your life after divorce, as well as helping you avoid certain post-divorce pitfalls.

The amount of information required for a divorce can be overwhelming, so it makes sense to begin gathering documents as soon as possible. You will need to have a record of names, account numbers, addresses, and phone numbers for all of your assets and debts. Don’t forget bank accounts, credit cards, loans, stocks and bonds, retirement accounts, mortgages, and title information.

It also helps to have tax returns for the last three years as well as pay stubs and employment information. If there is a business involved, obtain a copy of the tax records, assets, and debts. Make copies of deeds, prenuptial agreements, wills, and powers of attorney.

An experienced family law attorney can help you sort through the paperwork to present your case in the best possible way when you appear in court.


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Contested Divorce vs. Uncontested Divorce

Sometimes a divorce is amicable; other times it is bitter and divisive. If a divorce is uncontested, it can often be finalized more quickly and less expensively than when it is contested. Mutual agreements about the division of property and the support and time-sharing of children can often make a divorce happen faster and cost less money.


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Residence for a Divorce under Florida Statute 61

Florida Statutes Title VI, Chapter 61 enumerates the state laws related to divorce, equitable distribution of assets and debts, alimony, child support, and child custody/time sharing.

In order to file for a divorce in Florida, one of the parties must be a resident of the state for at least six months (F.S. 61.021). In addition, the law states that a divorce shall not be granted unless either the marriage is "irretrievably broken" or there is "mental incapacity of one of the parties" (F.S. 61.052(1)(b)).


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The Financial Effects of Divorce

When a marriage ends, uncertainty about finances is often a concern of both parties. In addition to legal fees and court costs, other expenses may be incurred, especially in contested divorce cases. The cost of depositions, investigators, and forensic accountants can add up quickly.

Florida's equitable distribution law states that the court "must begin with the premise that the distribution (of marital property) should be equal, unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution based on all relevant factors" (F.S. 61.075(1)), including the contributions of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage, among others.

A prenuptial agreement, if valid, will also be important for the court to consider (F.S. 61.079).

It would be wise for you to consult with a family law attorney to learn the many ways divorce can affect your finances and how you can protect yourself financially in a divorce.


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Alimony

Courts may grant alimony (spousal support) to one of the parties in a divorce. Many forms of alimony exist and the court will look at not only the needs of the spouse requesting alimony, but also the ability of the other spouse to pay alimony.

Alimony may be “bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational or permanent in nature, or any combination of these forms of alimony” depending on a number of factors (F.S. 61.08(1)).


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Child Custody/Time Sharing

If the divorcing couple has any children, the law requires the parents to adopt a "parenting plan" that includes a "time-sharing schedule" spelling out how the children will split their time between their parents after the divorce.

An experienced family law attorney can guide you through the maze of laws related to divorce so you can make sound decisions as you embark on the next phase of your life.


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Child Support

An alimony award is additional to any child support that may also be awarded to a custodial parent in a divorce; however, the court will also consider the child support amount when determining an alimony award.


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Modifications

Once a divorce is final, the assets and debts of the marriage are distributed, and alimony, child support and child custody/time sharing are decided by the court under a parenting plan, circumstances might change enough that one of the parents seeks a modification of alimony, modification of child support, or a modification of child custody/time sharing order. When that happens, either of the former spouses may return to court to seek a modification.

However, the court will only consider a request for modification if the party seeking relief demonstrates that a “substantial, material, and unanticipated” change in circumstances has occurred.

If you have sound legal grounds for seeking a modification of a divorce decree, an experienced family law attorney can help you build a strong case.


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Additional Resources

FAQ: Divorce Court in Palm Beach County, FL - Visit the webite for the clerk's office in Palm Beach county to find out more about divorce court including sample divorce forms, information on family mediation, updated rules for obtaining divorce records, and ways to enroll in the Parent Stabilization Course in Boca Raton, FL.

Boca Raton - A Parenting & Divorce Course Education Programs

Provider: S. Jacobson, MSW
Telephone: 1-800-767-8193
Website: educationprograms.com
Languages Offered: English

Boca Raton - Parent Concepts of Florida

Provider: Jo Whalen, Psy.D., PA
Telephone: 1-800-397-1898
Website: ParentConceptsofFlorida.com
Languages Offered: English, Spanish

Boca Raton - Florida 2 Parents 2 Homes

Provider: Jackie Reiner, MSW
Telephone: 954-806-8044
Website: Florida2Parents2Homes.com
Languages Offered: English, Spanish

Divorce Statutes at the Official Site of the Florida Legislature — Log on to the Florida Legislature’s web site for the statute enumerating the state’s dissolution of marriage laws. You can also search for other laws related to divorce and a variety of other family law topics under Title VI, Chapter 61, Parts I and II of the Florida Statutes.

Florida Courts Website, Family Law Self-Help Information — At the Florida Courts web site, you will find printable forms and other information about divorce, child custody/time sharing, and child support and resources and publications covering a wide variety of family court-related topics.

Palm Beach County Unified Family Court — The Unified Family Court of Palm Beach County handles all case types related to family issues, including divorce, child custody/time sharing, child support, paternity, and others. The UFC web site contains a wealth of information about family law in Palm Beach County and provides links to other legal information.

Unified Family Court in Palm Beach County, FL
205 N Dixie Hwy
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Phone:(561) 355-1808

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Boca Raton Divorce Lawyer at Yaffa & Associates

If you or your spouse are considering a divorce, you should contact one of the experienced Boca Raton divorce attorneys at Yaffa & Associates to schedule a consultation.

Find out what you need to do right now to protect yourself and resolve your case on the most favorable terms. Yaffa & Associates represents clients throughout Palm Beach County, including Boca Raton, Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Wellington,and the surrounding areas.

During the consultation, one of our attorneys can explain the issues related to child custody/time sharing to help you determine your options. Our managing partner, Doreen M. Yaffa, has been a board-certified specialist in marital and family law since 2001. Board certification is the highest level of recognition awarded by the Florida Bar and only about 6 percent of all Florida attorneys are board certified.

Learn more about the factors the judge will consider in your divorce case. Call Yaffa & Associates at (561) 276-3880 today to discuss the facts of your case.


This article was last updated on Monday, November 7, 2016.

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