The divorce rate in America is hovering around 40% for first-time marriages. Yet it can be promised that no one going through a divorce ever really planned for it upfront. Even when people create prenuptial agreements, they still don’t have it in their hearts that their marriage will end one day in a divorce.
Since divorce can sneak up on even the happiest of marriages, it is easy to find yourself unprepared for all the legal and emotional complications it can bring. If you’re feeling a bit lost in your divorce, or while staring at one on the horizon, our North Port divorce attorneys from Bogle Law are here to help provide some clarity and peace of mind. By outlining what you can generally expect from a divorce, you can be much more prepared for it, reducing the stress you feel and boosting your confidence in the decision.
The Purpose of Divorce
Many people can feel tempted to use the divorce process as a chance to penalize their spouse for what they perceive as wrongdoings in their marriage. We must be clear here: This is not the point of a divorce, and the court won’t be too happy if a bit of revenge is your primary motivating factor. Divorce is a legal way of ending a marriage, and its purpose should be acknowledged as such. You have to build your case on nothing but the facts and do your best to keep raw emotions out of it.
You should also know that Florida uses no-fault divorce rules, which means you don’t need any specific grounds for divorce. To file for divorce and to get it approved, either spouse just needs to feel the desire to end the marriage. No matter what your spouse has done to make you decide divorce is necessary, the court will largely be uninterested.
Avoiding the Courtroom
Not every divorce needs to go in front of a judge to make all of the important decisions. In fact, many divorces stay well away from the court until the divorce is finalized.
Using mediation and other collaborative techniques, you and your spouse can work towards a divorce settlement. This process gives you both more control, which tends to lead to more satisfaction about how the divorce concludes. Typically, our North Port family lawyers encourage our clients to think about using a negotiated settlement method, rather than relying on the courtroom. With that said, though, we do possess the abilities to litigate on behalf of our clients.
Your Divorce is Unique
Have some of your friends or family members gone through divorces recently? They probably have some stories to tell you about what happened and why. Do not take these stories too close to heart, though, as they are certainly unique to their experiences alone.
Since you and your spouse are in a different marriage and living different lives than those of your friends or relatives, your divorce simply cannot be the same. It is highly likely they won’t even be similar. Do not set your expectations on what others have done or accomplished in their divorce. It is best to get your expectations from one of our Florida divorce attorneys working on your case.
What Happens with Your Assets
Be prepared for some noticeable changes in what you own after divorce. The goal of property division in Florida is equitable distribution, which means dividing assets, finances, property, and even debt fairly, not equally. Depending on who paid for and needed what assets during your marriage, what you walk away with by the end of your divorce could be much different than what you have now.
Important assets to keep in mind when deciding property division are:
- Real estate property
- Major appliances
- Saving accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Credit card debts
Property division is a clear indicator as to why settlement and mediation are so important for divorcing couples. You and your spouse are much more likely to be happy with how your property is divided if you both get a say in it, rather than relying solely on the court and Florida’s written family law.
Roadblocks Most Divorcing Couples Can Expect
Let’s take a look now at three frequent complications of any divorce in North Port:
- Alimony: To keep both spouses financially afloat after a divorce, Florida family law courts often use alimony, which instructs one spouse to pay the other a set amount each month. Alimony considers each spouses’ financial needs and the payer’s actual ability to pay alimony without putting their own finances into a dire situation. A court can assign either temporary alimony or permanent alimony, deciding it usually on the length of the marriage.
- Child custody: For the most part, Florida family law courts want to keep both parents with their children after divorce. You should expect the same. One parent is often given primary residential care of their children, which means they live with that parent nearly all of the time. The other parent is granted a visitation schedule, which can be as frequent as once a week or much less frequent, depending on scheduling conflicts and the age of the children.
- Child support: If you are not the residential parent – or the one who got primary child custody – then you should expect to pay your ex-spouse some child support each month. Even if you make less income than your spouse, you will still probably need to pay them child support to ensure they can properly house, feed, and care for your children after the divorce. Child support is calculated specifically for each case, though, so predicting the amount you will need to pay can be difficult. It is best to come to our North Port child support lawyers to get a clearer prediction of child support in your divorce.
What is an Injunction & Should You Worry?
Sometimes, you will hear the scary word “injunction” get tossed about when talking about divorce court. Do not worry about injunctions, though. It is just a legal term for the court ordering you to do something, either during your divorce or afterward.
Common injunctions require that you or your ex-spouse do not:
- Harass one another during the divorce process.
- Call each other directly.
- Visit each other’s workplace.
As you might have picked up, injunctions are generally used in messy, contested divorces, often involving domestic violence accusations. To keep people separate who should be, injunctions can be quite handy.
Paying Attorney Fees
Did you know that the court could order you to pay some or all of your spouse’s attorney fees, and vice versa? It’s true, and it catches most divorcing parties off-guard. When there is a significant disparity between the incomes or potential future incomes of spouses in a divorce, the court may tell the spouse of greater income to pay their attorney fees. You should not enter a divorce relying on this decision, though, as it is somewhat uncommon in recent years.
What Everyone Should Do During Divorce
Lastly, we should review a few things every divorcing spouse in Florida should do:
- Be reasonable: You cannot enter a divorce thinking it is a war between you and your spouse and expect to exit happy. You need to be realistic and reasonable about what you can “get” out of your divorce. If you choose our North Port divorce attorneys to act as your legal guides, part of our job will be to keep your expectations reasonable throughout the divorce process.
- Communicate: The moment you decide to button your lips and stop communicating with your spouse or your attorney is the same moment you make your divorce much more difficult than it needs to be. Be open about what you are thinking and feeling, so everyone else knows how to act and react.
- Seek therapy when needed: Far too many divorcés ignore their own emotional struggles during divorce, resulting in a well of anger once the divorce concludes. If you are having trouble getting a grasp on your emotions, please consider seeking therapy or counseling that lets you vent and regain your footing.
- Think about your children: Most importantly of all, do not overlook how your divorce affects your children. You need to think of them first and foremost when making an important divorce decision, not only because that is the right thing to do but also because that is the court’s expectation.
Have more questions about what you can expect when divorcing in Florida? Go ahead and call our North Port divorce lawyers of Bogle Law at (941) 257-4743. We would be happy to see how we can help make your divorce simpler by acting as your legal counselors and guides.