In the State of Florida, there are a number of different types of divorce and alternative options for dissolving a marriage. Couples wishing to divorce should dedicate time to discussing the relationship between one other, the needs of their child or children, and their individual requirements and desires to ensure the divorce they choose is the best option.
Gainesville divorce lawyers with The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates can assist with every type of divorce in Florida, including the following. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.
Business & Divorce
If you own a business and are in the process of a divorce, you want to know what will happen to your business after the marriage is dissolved. There are a number of specific rules that must be followed and criteria that dictates if, how, and when a spouse should receive assets from the business during a divorce. An experienced Gainesville attorney can help you understand the many facets regarding business and divorce.
Common considerations involved in business and divorce include the following.
- Company integrity. When a spouse works within a company, he or she may have full access to how the company is run and the tactics that are employed to be competitive, which can possibly compromise a company’s integrity.
- Company expansion. When a business expands, it raises the concern of how a business will be valued and who will be entitled to such assets.
Who Is Entitled To Business Assets?
The primary factor in business and divorce in deciding asset entitlement is determining entitlements. In other words, which spouse deserves which share of the business? This answer depends on when the business was established; how the business was influenced by each party; and whether the business is considered to be a marital or non-marital asset. Typically, a business that is established before a marriage is considered non-marital property.
In contrast with marital property — assets or property acquired during the marriage that is distributed equitably between parties — non-marital property typically cannot be distributed in a divorce settlement. But with substantial evidence, a spouse’s subjective contributions that added to the success of the company may shift the business from a non-marital asset to a marital asset.
Consider, for example, the following scenarios.
- Spouse X owned a business before marrying Spouse Y. Spouse Y did not contribute to the business in any way. Therefore, Spouse Y is not entitled to any of the profit, shares or assets of the company.
- Spouse X owned a business before marrying Spouse Y. Spouse Y contributed to the company through measurable ideas (must be proven via evidence) and/or funds. Therefore, Spouse Y is entitled to a certain share of the business.
- Spouse X and Spouse Y established a business together. Both Spouse X and Spouse Y are entitled to shares (likely 50 percent) of the business.
Collaborative divorce is a legal proceeding that adheres to the guidelines of collaborative law. Unlike a traditional divorce proceeding, collaborative divorce requires each spouse to hire an attorney and meet with him or her regularly to discuss their needs, desires, and assets. Thereafter, the spouses and their respective attorneys convene in a 4-way meeting to further negotiate and establish the terms and conditions of the divorce. These private meetings require an open and honest environment that is initially protected by a binding document that both participants are required to sign, which outlines the importance of acting in good faith.
Collaborative divorce is derived from collaborative law, which is a modern method of solving disputes through mediation and simple negotiating techniques. Often referred to as “no court divorce,” collaborative divorce allows spouses to work together to achieve a settlement that honors the wishes of both individuals. Spouses seeking to gain a collaborative divorce are typically able to agree to basic divorce issues such as how the property will be distributed, if spousal support is necessary and how the needs of any children will be met.
What Are The Benefits Of A Collaborative Divorce?
Arguably, the most appealing aspect of collaborative divorce is that divorcing spouses do not ever see a courtroom. This provides a sense of security and relief to many couples who fear that their divorce will be long, traumatic and damaging. Collaborative divorces are favorable because they allow divorcing spouses to exercise autonomy over divorce disputes. Additional benefits to a collaborative divorce include the following.
- Lower cost than a traditional divorce
- Less time consuming than traditional divorce proceedings
- Spouses can work together toward amicable solutions
- Informality allows spouses to be open and honest
Divorce With Young Children
Divorcing with young children requires additional investigations and support — not only must the individuals within the marriage separate, but a plan must be established to protect the well-being of the children. Often, an in-depth investigation of each parent’s character and parenting style is required to determine which parent will be granted child custody. Child support and a time-sharing plan are also established during divorce proceedings. Further, there are legal and financial matters regarding the child that must be solved, such as child support. This makes divorce with young children an emotionally demanding experience.
If there is evidence that a spouse has sexually, mentally or physically abused a child, or if there are allegations of child neglect, young children may be required to testify in a court of law and undergo other legal proceedings. A Gainesville attorney can guide your child through this process to ensure that he or she feels confident, safe and prepared to express the truth. These types of investigations are significantly relevant to not only ensure the safety of the child but to ensure that the child is placed with the proper custodial parent. If a spouse is considered to be an unfit parent, he or she will not be assigned as the custodial parent.
In Which Ways Can Divorce Impact Children?
Divorce may certainly have significant negative impacts on a child or children. Consider the following common effects of divorce on minors.
- Adjustments to schedules and routines
- Split time between parents
- Ill feelings (trauma, sadness, bitterness, guilt, etc.)
- Withdrawal and/or isolation
- Dependence on coping mechanisms
- Behavioral changes
There are a number of issues unique to medical professionals that doctors may face during Florida divorce proceedings. Aside from working a hectic and unusual schedule, doctors also often accumulate large debts as a result of many years of education and formal training.
Due to such issues, the division of property during a doctor’s divorce is difficult. In many situations, spouses independently support the family while doctors receive an education. This makes it difficult for courts and accountants to determine equitable asset distribution. Because doctors work around the clock, time-sharing arrangements and child custody plans are difficult to establish and adhere to.
How Can A Medical Professional’s Status Affect Asset/Property Distribution?
Doctor’s divorce is considered a type of high-asset divorce. Unlike other wealthy professionals, there are many factors that must be considered when determining the net worth and value of a doctor. This measurement is often an account of more than just what is in a doctor’s bank account. During doctor’s divorce, accountants may consider any of the following materials as indicators of a doctor’s assets.
- The type of medicine that a doctor practices
- Any and all published research and texts
- The number of years spent in the profession
- Levels of experience
Once these factors are considered, accountants are able to determine the net worth of doctors in order to determine the appropriate amount of debts and assets that should be distributed as marital property during divorce.
An established doctor will most likely be deemed as having a considerably higher value than a doctor in school for training, or even a doctor in residency. In fact, the more years of experience and establishment that a doctor has within the medical field, the more valuable he or she may be perceived during a divorce proceeding.
High-asset divorce is the technical term used to describe a divorce that has complex issues and/or significantly large estates. Often, millions of dollars must be calculated and distributed during high-asset divorces. Most high-asset divorces involve prominent individuals in society such as executives, business owners, doctors, and lawyers. Before a high-asset divorce becomes necessary, there are special precautions that couples can take to ensure that their property is protected. Many couples elect to establish a prenuptial agreement — before the marriage — or a postnuptial agreement — during the marriage. These special documents are employed to establish the terms and conditions of a given marriage and dictate how funds and resources will be distributed if a divorce becomes necessary.
In most cases, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements specify that each party leaves the marriage with the assets that each party had before entering the union. However, depending on the unique needs of each party, as well as the presence of children and business developments, the agreements may contain other specific orders. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements serve as beneficial guides that govern the divorce process. Parties are able to decide early on what they are willing to divide and this makes it easier for the final terms of the divorce to be enforced.
Common Issues With High-Asset Divorces
During high-asset divorces, many issues can emerge that can prolong and complicate the divorce proceedings.
Hostile feelings. Because of hostile feelings of the desire to gain revenge against the opposing party, many individuals choose to fight for ridiculously large percentages of the other’s profit or purposely behave in a non-cooperative manner during negotiations.
Lack of agreement. Spouses may have difficulty agreeing to the terms and conditions of a divorce — whether it is alimony, spousal support or child sharing arrangements.
Failure to disclose all financial records. To ensure that all funds are accounted for to accurately calculate and distribute assets during a divorce, the parties must identify all of their financial records. Failure to do so may compromise the equitable distribution of property and assets.
Highly Contested Or Contentious Divorce
Highly contested divorces involve spouses who are unable to agree on the terms and conditions of the divorce, such as the distribution of assets or property, alimony, and time sharing of children. Because of the inability to agree, the spouses seeking to divorce will often run into further issues. Contested divorces require strong legal representation, expensive fees, and a lengthy divorce proceeding. Divorces can be categorized into two distinct categories: uncontested divorces and contested divorces.
In uncontested divorce proceedings, spouses are able to agree and collaboratively work on solutions. Contested divorces reflect circumstances in which spouses are unable to reach agreements on marital issues. Spouses involved in contested divorces typically experience disagreement on issues such as child custody and time-sharing arrangements and spousal support or alimony, among others issues.
Contesting spouses may even protest the divorce through contempt, in which they unlawfully withhold support ordered by the courts. A highly contested divorce involves large assets, bigger personalities, and most importantly, individuals who are unwilling to compromise. Consider the following common qualities and behaviors that can dominate highly contested divorces.
- Unyielding disagreement on divorce issues
- Delayed responses to paperwork
- Misrepresentation of assets/debts
- Protracted custody battles
- Mental abuse/bullying from spouses
Common Causes Of Contentious Divorces
Most highly contested divorces result from unresolved and/or hurt feelings. If adultery occurred during the marriage, an individual may wish to obtain revenge on the other spouse by refusing to agree on an issue or by aiming to make the other spouse suffer financially. Or an individual may wish to remain married. By complicating and prolonging divorce proceedings, this individual may perceive that his or her actions may cause the counterpart to surrender. With such important matters regarding finances, legalities, and any children at hand, divorcing spouses must be aware of their rights and responsibilities during these proceedings.
Military divorce proceedings are often complicated. With consistent traveling and long deployments, military marriages and divorces often present unusual obstacles and disputes. Money and/or the distribution of assets becomes a major issue between married couples. Further, it is difficult to establish child care agreements.
Military divorces are settled with both federal and state laws and there are many options not available to civilians seeking standard divorces. The federal laws determine where the court proceedings will take place and how pensions are divided, while state laws focus on child custody and alimony.
Where Can I File For A Military Divorce?
In standard civilian divorces, the spouse filing for divorce will register in the state in which one of the spouses has a legal residence. However, during military divorces, you have a variety of options. You can file for divorce in the state where the service member has residency, the non-military spouse lives or where the service member is stationed. Once the divorce is filed in a particular state, proceedings will continue according to the laws of that particular state.
In the state of Florida, no-fault divorces allow couples to end their marriage without proving fault or damage of the other individual. Spouses may simply state that a divorce is necessary due to reasons that will be upheld in court. In most cases, it means that there are irreconcilable differences or an irreparable breakdown of the marriage. Couples wishing to gain a no-fault divorce should be sure that both individuals in the marriage are on one accord to avoid future complications.
In most states, including Florida, no-fault divorces are automatically granted. Not all divorces result from wrongdoings of spouses. Often, spouses choose to gain a divorce because they simply can no longer get along with each other, are no longer in love, or have differences that cannot be resolved. When neither of the spouses is responsible for the ultimate demise of the marriage, a no-fault divorce may be filed.
Uncontested divorce, also known as a simplified dissolution of marriage, is a type of divorce where the spouses have reached an agreement about all the issues of the case. This includes division of assets and debts, alimony, parenting plans if children are involved, child support and any other issues that arise in the case.
Because of this, an uncontested divorce does not require a court to divide the property, determine spousal and child support, etc. and usually proceeds through the system more quickly than a contested divorce. Uncontested divorce, however, still requires filing a petition for divorce and a hearing. This type of divorce is highly attractive to those spouses who wish to end their marriage amicably and are able to cooperate with one another.
What Are The Requirements For An Uncontested Divorce?
Not every couple is eligible for an uncontested divorce in Florida. Certain requirements need to be met for the court to approve the divorce, which includes the following.
- At least one of the spouses must be a Florida resident for at least six months
- Both parties must agree to cooperate and sign the necessary papers
- Neither party may have a child younger than 18 or a dependent child over the age of 18
- If there are children involved, the parents must agree on a detailed parenting plan
- The wife is not pregnant at the time of filing for divorce
- Neither spouse is seeking any form of alimony
- Both parties agree to surrender their right to a trial or to an appeal
- All aspects of divorce have been agreed upon such as division of property
- Spouses both wish to have a simplified dissolution of marriage