Are you thinking about a divorce in Florida? Are you wondering what it looks like or how it works? Are you curious about your rights when getting a divorce in Florida?
Divorce in Florida follows P.E.A.C.E.
What does that mean?
Judges in divorce courts in Florida are taught to handle issues in divorce cases following the acronym P.E.A.C.E. in that order. In other words, “P” before “E” before “A”, etc. You get the picture. Here is an explanation:
“P” represents PARENTING. Parenting deals with legal responsibility and physical responsibility for minor children. Basically, where will the children be living most of the time and who will be responsible for making the major decisions for the children, such as medical, education, and religious decisions.
“E” represents EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION. This is a fancy term for how the Judge will divide up what you and your spouse own and what you owe; your assets and liabilities.
“A” represents ALIMONY. This is support money that is paid from one spouse to the other.
“C” represents CHILD SUPPORT. This is money that is owed to the minor children of you and your spouse.
“E” represents EVERYTHING ELSE. This means that anything that is not covered under “P”, “E”, “A”, or “C” is dealt with last.
Divorce in Florida Starts With a Petition
A Petition is usually the first document filed in a divorce case, and it is the document that starts the case with the court. The spouse filing for divorce will file his or her Petition with the Clerk of the Courts. A Petition lists everything that he or she is asking the Judge to decide. It should follow the P.E.A.C.E. acronym because that is the flow that Judges are familiar with.
Here’s a tip…if you don’t ask for it in your Petition, the Judge cannot award it to you! So make sure you ask for everything you want.
Divorce in Florida – Next Step
The other spouse will be served with the Petition and other court documents. The spouse who gets served will need to file what is called an Answer or an Answer and Counter-Petition. The Answer is that spouse’s response to the allegations in the Petition, and the Answer must be filed and served within 20 days of being served with the Petition.
I know this can be confusing, and I highly recommend you schedule an initial consultation with a competent, professional, and ethical family law attorney to help guide you. I do this for people everyday.
Divorce in Florida – What’s Next?
A divorce in Florida can proceed in at least a few different ways. One way is that you and your spouse negotiate and come to an agreement. I call this the “Kitchen Table Negotiation.” Or, you and your spouse might go to a mediation with a third party neutral called a Mediator, who will help you and your spouse communicate in a way that helps you resolve the issues in your divorce.
There are other ways a divorce in Florida might proceed and I gave you only two possible options.
A divorce in Florida can be tricky. The divorce waters can be treacherous for the unwary. If you need help, give me a call at (407) 872-3161 or contact me through my firm’s contact form.