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August 2015 Archives

Attorney Fees and Costs

Who pays for attorney fees and costs? When incomes are approximately equal, each party must pay for his or her divorce. But when one party has substantially more income, Florida statues provide that the court may require the richer party to pay all or part of the other spouse's fees and costs. The purpose of the statute is to try to insure that the party with little or no income is not at a disadvantage in hiring a lawyer compared to the spouse with the higher income.

Financial Disclosure

In every divorce there is going to be a financial settlement that must be approved by the court. Even if the parties agree that each will take what they own and agree not to have either pay the other anything, that is still a financial settlement. In order to approve a settlement the court must find that there has been adequate financial disclosure of the parties' assets, debts and income.

Jurisdiction

In Florida, the court will not have jurisdiction (legal authority) to enter a dissolution of marriage or divorce until at least one of the two parties has been a resident of Florida for six months. This means that if a couple moves here and decides that the marriage is over, they will have to delay filing their petition until after they have been here six months. This is a factual question and a false residency affidavit will invalidate any court order entered in reliance upon it.

RELOCATION

In any divorce or paternity action the question of relocation comes up: Can I move away with my child? If there is no pending action or court order entered dealing with the custody and control of the child, you may move anywhere.

Child Support

Once a parenting schedule is in place (see my blog on Child Custody), child support can be calculated. It must be calculated in a specific fashion and the parents may not agree to waive that obligation. The right to receive support belongs to the child and the parent cannot waive the child's rights.

Child Custody

When people divorce, the first question that comes up is "Who gets custody of the children?" Today in Florida, the answer is "No one gets custody." The reason for this is that Florida has done away with the legal concept of custody of children. In Florida the statute provides that there is a presumption of shared parenting. This means that although the divorce or dissolution of the marriage will end the legal relationship between the husband and wife, the legal relationship between the mother and the children and between the father and the children remains in place.

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