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Sanford, Florida Divorce Lawyer

Adams & Luka

If you find yourself facing a divorce in Sanford, you most likely have a lot of questions and concerns regarding what to expect from the process and what your life will look like once the divorce is over. A divorce can change just about every aspect of what your current life looks like, including where you live, your financial situation, and even when you can see your children. All of this change, uncertainty, and emotions that come from going through a divorce can be very stressful to navigate. Our Sanford divorce lawyers at My Florida Family Attorney, Adams & Luka, P.A., understand how difficult a divorce can be and will do everything we can to put your mind at ease. Understanding how divorce cases proceed and the different types of issues usually involved in divorces in Sanford can help take away some of the uncertainty and worry you might be facing.

The Divorce Process in Sanford, FL

The first step most individuals facing a divorce will take, aside from possibly separating and/or dividing up their assets and property, is to speak to an attorney. In the initial consultation, you can expect our experienced divorce attorneys to ask questions and listen to your concerns to get a good idea of your circumstances and what results you are looking for. Our divorce attorneys will also answer any questions you have, give you an idea of the general course your divorce will likely take, and explain to you what you are most likely entitled to or could realistically expect to receive.

One of the reasons our Sanford divorce attorneys will ask you questions and learn more about your situation and what you want is to either file the petition to start the divorce process with the court, or respond to a petition if your spouse has already filed one. While the petition will contain a lot of essential information, its purpose is to ask the court for a divorce and for all other relief the petitioning party is seeking. For example, if the petitioning party wants alimony, attorneys' fees paid by their spouse, and equal timesharing with the children, all of this would be stated in the petition. The response filed to the petition is called an answer, and in most cases a counterpetition will also be filed with it. The purpose of the counterpetition is the same as the original petition; it will ask the court for all the relief the responding spouse would like.

After the initial pleadings are filed, the divorce case will then proceed to an information-gathering stage, referred to as discovery. Part of discovery includes mandatory disclosure and filing financial affidavits that detail both spouses' incomes, expenses, assets, debts, liabilities, and real and personal property. Once all this information is shared, and possibly even before, negotiations will begin. This stage would also include mediation, which is a required step in Sanford before going to trial in most cases. If the spouses can agree on how to resolve everything, then a marital settlement agreement, and parenting plan if there are minor children, will be drafted and provided to the court. The judge will then grant a final judgment dissolving the marriage. If the parties cannot agree on how to resolve everything then going to trial will be necessary. At trial, both parties will present their cases and ask the court to resolve the matters in their favor. The judge will then make a determination and issue the final judgment to dissolve the marriage.

Alimony in Sanford

In most divorce cases in Sanford, it is typical for one spouse to want alimony and the other spouse to be worried about having to pay alimony. The court cannot order alimony without first determining that the receiving spouse needs the alimony and the payor spouse has the ability to pay. There are several factors the courts will consider when deciding whether to award alimony and how much should be awarded, including the following:

  • the standard of living maintained during the marriage,
  • how long the marriage lasted,
  • each party's age, physical, and emotional conditions,
  • each party's resources including both marital and nonmarital assets,
  • each party's education, vocational skills, employability, and earning capacity,
  • the contributions each party made during the marriage including caring for children, homemaking, and supporting the other spouse during education and career building,
  • financial responsibilities for minor children,
  • and any other factor the court considers necessary to do equity and justice.
Equitable Distribution

In Sanford, as well as throughout Florida, courts follow the equitable distribution model of distributing all marital assets and debts. All property, assets, and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage will generally be considered marital property, although there are exceptions to this. The courts will generally split all marital assets and debts on a 50/50 basis between the spouses, although the court will consider various factors which may cause them to vary from this presumptive 50/50 division. All property and debts acquired by either spouse either before the marriage or after separation will generally be considered nonmarital property and remain with the spouse who acquired it, although there may be exceptions to this rule as well. While nonmarital property may not be subject to equitable distribution by the court, it may still be used by the court to determine a spouse's ability to pay or need for alimony as well as child support calculations.

Child Support and Time Sharing

If there are minor children in common to the divorcing spouses, child support will almost always be court ordered and a time-sharing schedule will need to be arranged. In Sanford and throughout Florida, child support is viewed as the right of the child to be supported financially by both parents in approximately the same manner as the child would have been supported had the parents remained married or in a household together. Due to child support being the right of the child, neither parent may waive the right to receive child support. If both parents are able to come to an agreement regarding the amount of child support that should be paid, the court will still review that amount to make sure it is not inappropriate based on the child support guidelines worksheet as laid out in Florida statutes. Child support is based on several factors. Some of the primary factors include each parent's financial resources and net income, the number of overnights each parent has, the cost of providing health insurance for the child, any extraordinary medical, dental, or educational expenses each child has, and childcare costs.

The time-sharing schedule will start with a presumption that equal time-sharing with both parents is in the best interest of the child, and one parent will only be denied time-sharing or be required to have supervised visitation if exceptional circumstances showing that this is necessary are involved. The time-sharing schedule will be detailed, including how many overnights each parent has, where the child will spend holidays and school breaks, where the child will attend school, how transportation of the child to and from each parent will be arranged, and how parenting responsibility will be divided.

Contact Us Now for Your Free Consultation

Our Sanford divorce attorneys are always available to get started on your case right away, beginning with your free consultation. Here at My Florida Family Attorney, Adams & Luka, P.A., our attorneys have combined decades of experience in handling divorces in Sanford and will use their experience and skill to get you the best possible results, no matter your situation. Contact us 24/7 at 407-872-0303 or 352-357-4084.