How is Custody Handled?

Florida courts do not use the term “child custody”. Instead, the courts will award a “joint parental responsibility”. The joint parental responsibility is a time sharing arrangement that allows both parents time with their child. Is Joint Parental Responsibility The Same As Child Custody? In parental responsibility, the two parents are awarded a time-sharing arrangement with the child and the task of raising the child. The responsibility to raise the child ends when the child graduates from college or upon the child’s 18th birthday. When the Florida courts award shared parental responsibility, both parents have full parental rights. Both parents must jointly decide about the child’s welfare including the primary residence, health, and education. Sole Parental Responsibility Florida courts always refrain from using the terms “child custody”. Concepts such as “majority time sharing” and equal “time sharing” apply. If divorce or separation occurs, the courts will typically award shared responsibility unless one parent proves that the shared parental responsibility is harmful to the child. The courts can take child abuse, negligence, abandonment of child and spouse, or domestic violence as possible harm to the child. In rare circumstances, the judge can also consider the request by one parent and give sole child responsibility to one parent. Sole parental responsibility or sole custody can give one parent the right to make decisions about the child’s welfare, for instance, the child’s bedtime and the school the child attends. Time Sharing Schedule The parents will attempt to agree upon time-sharing schedule that includes the parenting plan and the specific time that each parent spends with the child. The schedule must include the...

How does Homestead Law Factor into my Divorce?

Distribution of Assets after Divorce Upon divorce or separation in Florida, the courts will typically order for the equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities. Courts can allocate the marital assets 50/50 unless there are factors that make the equitable distribution discriminatory. When the spouses go through a divorce, one of the partners moves out the joint home. The question that arises quite often is: Who between the husband and wife should have access to the homestead property? http://www.plea.org explains that that only marital property and liabilities are subject to the 50/50 principle. Marital property is all the property and debts acquired jointly by the marriage partners. Separate assets will remain in the name of the spouse who owns it. The Florida divorce lawyer can prepare a list of the joint assets and debts for the clients in readiness for the homestead property case. What is Homestead Property? Homestead property is a special class of real estate protected by the Florida Constitution and Statutes. The husband and wife normally are the joint owners of the homestead property as tenants by entireties. As per the Florida Statute 689.115, the homestead property is owned by the marital union, rather than by the individual spouses. The Florida Constitution defines homestead property as the couple’s principal place of residence up to one-half acre within a municipal area and up to 160 acres outside a municipality. As explained in Article X, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution, homestead property is not subject to taxation and execution by judgments. A creditor or court judgment cannot force the sale of your homestead. Homestead Law in Marriage...

Are retirement Accounts Part of Equitable Distribution?

During a divorce, the distribution of assets and money is a tense subject. Many people do not understand the legalities associated with how the distributions are determined. Individuals, more times than not, apply their own non-legal thoughts and ideas to the process. It is true that the equitable distribution of assets, such as retirement accounts, can become very complicated, however, there are some fundamentals which are relatively simple, and that apply to most scenarios. Below we will discuss the equitable distribution of retirement accounts. Let’s first demystify the term ‘equitable distribution.’ It is a term that is commonly misinterpreted to mean equal or 50/50. That is not necessarily true. There are many variables which come into play when a judge is determining what is equitable. A more accurate way to approach the term may be to think of it as a determination as to what is fair. Pre-Marital Retirement Account Funds. Money that has accumulated and grown in an account which was established prior to the marriage is labeled as pre-marital. Typically, ex-spouses do not have a right to pre-marital funds. However, even if the account was established and partially funded prior to the inception of the marriage, if there were contributions made during the course of the marriage, those contributions will be separated and considered as part of what an ex-spouse is entitled to under equitable distribution. Contributions Made During The Marriage. Contributions or growth of a retirement account made during the marriage are subject to equitable distribution and an ex-spouse may have a right to those funds, in the event of a dissolution of the marriage. There...