divorce law servicesIn General

The official term for divorce in Florida is dissolution of marriage. Florida is one of the many states that has abolished fault as a grounds for divorce. All that is required to establish the grounds necessary for divorce is that the marriage be irretrievably broken. Either spouse can file for the dissolution of marriage. All that has to be proven in order to obtain a divorce is that a valid marriage exists, one party has been a Florida resident for more than six months immediately preceding the file of the petition, and that the marriage is irretrievably broken. In most instances, other issues need to be decided beyond just the legal entitlement to a divorce. Each divorce is unique and the results will vary. Marriage partners usually do not know their legal rights and obligations. Court clerks and judges can only answer some basic questions, but they are prohibited from giving legal advice. Only a lawyer is allowed to do that. Statutory requirements and court rules must be strictly followed or you may lose certain important rights forever. A knowledgeable lawyer can analyze your unique situation and can help you to make decisions in the best interests of you and your family.

Property Division

One of the most difficult and complex areas of divorce is the division of marital assets and liabilities (debts). Florida statutes and case law provide for an equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities. In essence, the marital property should be divided fairly or equitably (not necessarily equally) between the parties regardless of how the title is held. This is based on a long list of statutory factors. Marital property may include cars, houses, retirement benefits (pensions), business interests, cash, stocks, bonds, bank accounts, personal property, and other things of value. Liabilities include mortgages, car loans, credit card accounts and other debts. Generally, any asset or liability acquired during the marriage through the efforts of either party is considered marital and subject to equitable distribution. The parties may also have assets or liabilities that are considered non-marital and are therefore awarded only to one party.

Attorney's Fees and Costs

Divorce does not have to be expensive, although it sometimes can be. The more complex your affairs and the more contested the issues, the more dissolution will cost. Largely, the cost will depend on how contested the matter becomes. The financially weaker party may seek for the stronger to pay all or part of his/her attorney’s fees and costs based on the stronger party’s ability to pay. Attorney’s fees and costs can also be awarded based on the improper conduct of a party during the course of the litigation, resulting in the needless expenditure of attorney’s fees and costs. However, the entitlement to an award of attorney’s fees and costs from the other spouse, and the amount, are always an uncertainty because such determinations are within the court's broad discretion.

Domestic Violence/Restraining Orders

You may go to court yourself or with an attorney to petition for an injunction to protect yourself against domestic violence (assault or battery by your spouse whether you are separated or not, or your former spouse), repeat violence, or sexual violence. If you feel you are the victim of such domestic violence, repeat violence, or sexual violence, and the court agrees based upon a review of your sworn affidavit stating the underlying facts, the court may enter a domestic violence injunction immediately removing the alleged person responsible from your residence and preventing such person from coming around you or contacting you. The court will then set a hearing within two weeks to allow both sides to present evidence as to whether your emergency injunction should be continued or dissolved.

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Michael Beraha
Divorce and Family Law Attorney

1880 N. Congress Ave.
Suite 201
Boynton Beach, FL 33426

Phone: 561-732-1090

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