There is no way to completely prepare for a divorce. One of the best preparation options is to consult with an attorney. This consultation may be before any case is filed or after you have been served with a petition. Either way, meeting with an attorney doesn’t constitute preparing for battle, it prepares you with the knowledge and information to have realistic expectations and to hopefully amicably and efficiently end your marriage. With the goal of providing accurate information and guidance on Florida law, the attorneys at Sasser, Cestero & Roy, P.A. often see misconceptions about divorce. These are three of the most common…
50/50 is the law. The end.
Many parents come to a consult with a confident understanding of 50/50 equal timesharing. Timesharing under Florida law is where your child lays their head at night. It does not have to do with decision-making for the children, it is literally where they spend their overnight time. Often it is believed to be Florida law that parents must split time equally. There is no Florida Statute that states that the court must order 50/50 equal timesharing or that there is a presumption that 50/50 equal timesharing is in a child’s best interest. The courts consider Florida Statute §61.13(3) a-t, a list of 20 factors in creating, developing, approving, or modifying a parenting plan. Our team will work with you to understand these factors and how they apply to your family.
- My best option is to keep my home.
There are many reasons people want to stay in their home; consistency for their children, comfort in their space, and sometimes moving can be another expensive and overwhelming task to take on during your divorce. However, in dividing assets and starting over, keeping your home is not always the best option. It is likely that two incomes were going toward maintaining your home and it may not be possible to truly pay the bills and upkeep that same home on only one income. During an initial consultation, our attorneys will give an overview of the equitable distribution process. Equitable distribution is the principle under Florida law that through a divorce the parties marital or joint assets should be divided equally, this does not include non-marital assets such as inheritances or if there is a reason to ask the court for and unequal division. It is important to remember that it isn’t about splitting the actual asset down the middle, but identifying assets, determining values, and creating distributions based on those values. Very often a home is the most valuable asset in a divorce. If one spouse keeps the home, they may not be entitled to any other assets. Depending on the value of the home, the spouse keeping the home may even owe money to the other to reach an equitable solution. Another important consideration for parents is that creating two new homes for children, leads to new rooms and opportunities for them to have input on their spaces. One parent living in the family “home” can make the other parent's home feel strange, foreign, and like a place the children “visit”. There are a number of points to consider in determining what to do with your home and our team is here to assist with the process.
- I put that in my account, so it’s mine.
A very common misconception is that money in individually titled accounts or property in only one spouse’s name, makes that automatically theirs in a divorce. Without a prenuptial agreement saying otherwise, income during a marriage is marital. It doesn’t matter who’s account it is deposited into. There are certainly nuances and complexities to this concept, Florida Statute §61.075 (6) defines marital assets as assets acquired and liabilities incurred during the marriage, individually by either spouse of jointly by them and further clarifies what is and isn’t marital. During an initial consultation, our attorneys will be able to walk you through his process and begin providing guidance on determining what is marital and what isn’t. The important thing to note is that simply where you deposit things or how you title them doesn’t guarantee they are not marital and not subject to equitable distribution.
There are many more misconceptions and misunderstandings when it comes to family law. It is important to choose an attorney who can not only clear up these misconceptions but also educate you to make informed decisions and guide you through what can often be an emotional and complicated process.