3 Things to Consider in Divorce
Once you have decided it’s time for a divorce, you have several things to consider, including the division of assets, time sharing with the minor children and spousal support. Each factor has sub-factors, but those are decided at the time you decide the main issue. For example, time-sharing involves many decisions including insurance for the children, schedules, medical issues, and schools. While it’s always easier on everyone, including the children, if you can come to an agreement, that is not always feasible. If you are planning to divorce and are able to have a civil conversation, you might consider discussing these factors even if you think you can’t agree – you never know when a discussion reveals factors you or your spouse didn’t think of.
Along with time sharing comes child support and a visitation schedule. If you cannot agree on time sharing yourself, the court, in the best interests of the children, is going to order you to stick to a schedule. The court’s schedule is usually every other weekend, one overnight weeknight every week and alternating holidays. Vacations are usually split between the parents. The problem with this schedule is that it doesn’t work for everyone, especially those parents who might have military obligations.
It is better if you and your spouse are able to come up with a fair schedule to see the children. You could stick with the schedule outlined above, or you could alternate weeks. Some families alternate every two weeks. Because the same holidays could end up being spent with the same parent, parents often agree to alternating holidays to ensure that the children get to spend time with both parents. Others have the children for half the day on major holidays and drop them off at the other parent’s house for the second half of the day.
Child support is governed by statute and is based on your combined incomes and the amount of time the children spend with each parent. It is figured as a percentage.
Division of Assets
Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means that the court will equitably divide the assets – this does not necessarily mean that each spouse gets half. The spouse that makes less than the other often gets a higher percentage of the assets to make up for the income he or she is going to lose once the divorce is final. Other reasons why one spouse would get a higher percentage of the assets include:
- Property that is considered non-marital;
- Spousal support orders;
- Minor children with medical problems;
- Whether a spouse has a new partner; and
If you want a specific asset, it is better to try to work out the division of assets with your spouse. For example, if you both have retirement accounts but your account has a significantly higher balance than your spouse’s, you may want to offset that with another asset that your spouse wants but you could replace easier than your spouse could, such as a vehicle or a vacation home.
Spousal support is often a bone of contention, even when both spouses have excellent incomes. The statutes only allow permanent spousal support if the marriage is considered long term. Otherwise, the court may order some form of temporary spousal support such as bridge-the-gap or lump sum support.
The type and amount depend on each couple’s unique circumstances including income, whether a spouse received an inheritance, the length of the marriage and the emotional and physical needs of the requesting spouse.
If a spouse needs a hand up until he or she can get a better job or because he or she has never worked, it is always a good idea to come to an agreement for the amount and length of time the other spouse will agree to pay spousal support, if one pays at all. Some couples would rather not have spousal support so they don’t get used to money that won’t be available forever.
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If you are considering divorce or have been served with divorce papers, contact Yardley Law to schedule a consultation to learn about your rights in your specific situation.