What Will It Cost?
Perhaps the single most asked question by anyone who is going through a divorce is what will it cost? The answer depends upon the complexity of the issues, the inability to reach a resolution, and the personal responses of both individuals to the even the idea of separating and divorcing. At first, you will enter into a Retainer Agreement which will establish a fee structure and the amount required to secure our firm’s representation. You will be expected to make an initial payment, upon execution of our Retainer Agreement.
Is Fault by Either Party Required in Order to Obtain a Divorce?
Florida is considered a “no-fault state” which means that all an individual need to prove is that the marriage has “irretrievably broken down” – that’s it. Even if your spouse has committed adultery, it will not be considered by a Judge when it comes to establishing grounds for divorce.
What is the Process?
There will be an initial meeting at which time we will gather the facts surrounding your marriage, issues with respect to the children, and start the process of financial disclosure. At that point, assuming that there are no emergency issues, all of your records will be obtained, i.e. tax returns, credit card statements, bank records, and the like. Then, as a team, we identify the goal that we wish to reach with respect to the finances. Generally, negotiations take place at this point, and in the event that the parties cannot reach an agreement, formal mediation takes place with a third party. If this does not resolve all of the issues, then the matter is referred to a Court for a final resolution.
What if I Have no Knowledge of our Expenses or our Finances?
On this one, you are not alone. It is our experience that most couples do not share complete information about their economic circumstances, or for that matter, the cost of living for the family. Not to worry. The ability to obtain all information is firmly established, and your spouse cannot avoid providing all documents required to determine a complete picture of the family’s finances.
We Have Children – What Should our Family Expect to Happen?
How you interact with your children will be as important, if not more, than any other aspect of the family’s separation. Initially, your children will have to be told that the family will no longer remain intact and that there will be having to live in two separate homes. At our firm, we insist that you pledge never to say anything bad about your spouse in front of your children. With this as a standard, parenting time, with each parent, will be established depending upon the circumstances of the family unit. There is no “one size fits all”.
How Will our Assets be Divided?
After all of the financial assets have been valued, including business interests, property interests, stock interests, retirement accounts, and any other valuable property that existed during the marriage, those interests will be divided. In most cases, the division will be equal; however, not always. Many factors must be evaluated before a marital interest can be determined. Of course, when needed and with your approval, our team will include accountants, forensic investigators, business evaluators, pension evaluators, and financial planners. Each case is unique and requires thorough and complete valuations.
What if I Will Need Financial Support?
The law does have various standards for the establishment of support which is often called alimony. Additionally, there are schedules for child support as well. Again, each case is individual, and the various types of alimony that can be established will depend upon the needs of the family and the ability of a party to be able to pay what is required.