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  • What kind of divorce do you want?
  • How will you try to split up assets and liabilities
  • What do you want to see happen with the children?
  • Are you going to ask or offer to pay the other party (alimony, or child support)?
  • Are you going to ask or offer to pay the other parties attorney fees?



  • What kind of divorce do you want? 
    ​Florida has two kinds of divorce, the standard divorce (contested) or a simple (or uncontested).  For a simple divorce you have to meet a number of requirements: you have to have no children together, be able to agree upon how to divide up your assets (houses, cars, furniture, etc) and liabilities (mortgages, credit card bills, etc.), and you both have to waive your right to alimony (one spouse paying the other money each money). 

    ​The benefit of a simple divorce is it can be done much faster, and it will be cheaper in attorney’s fees and time spent.  In fact, many people will handle simple divorces themselves, if this is something you are interested in the relevant forms can be found here: (FORMS FOR SIMPLE DIVORCES).  If you do not qualify for a simple divorce for any reason, then you have to file a petition for dissolution of marriage.

In addition to doing a parenting plan, the court will also have to determine if child support will be paid.  Child support can be ordered in situations where the parties were never married, or even in cases where the parties are still married, but it will always be an issue when there is a divorce involving children.  It is possible that for whatever reason, the court will not order child support, but this would only be when it is not in the best interests of the child (usually the parents are splitting custody and costs of the child).  Usually child support will go to the parent who has the child more often in an effort to balance out the costs of properly raising a child.


  • Short: a marriage of less than 7 years – only alimony if court makes a written finding of exceptional circumstances
  • Moderate: more than 7, but less than 17 – alimony awarded if appropriate based on clear and convincing evidence after considering the statutory factors
  • Long: more than 17 – alimony award if statutory criteria are met

​Based upon that the court also must determine what kind of alimony to award:

  • Bridge the gap alimony – short term need for one party to get back on their feet (not to exceed two years).
  • Durational alimony – alimony for a set period of time.  Amount can be modified based upon change in circumstances, but length is only changeable under exception circumstances.  However, it can never be more than the length of marriage.
  • Rehabilitative alimony – alimony to help one party get better earning potential (for example, one party must go back to school, and they get rehabilitative alimony during that time).  Can be modified based upon substantial change in circumstances, finishing the plan or non-compliance with the plan.
  • Permanent alimony – alimony forever.  Can be changed based upon a substantial change in circumstances.

Divorce Documents

DIVORCE

  • Are you going to ask or offer to pay the other parties attorney fees?
    Lastly, one party might have to reimburse the other party for attorney fees.  This is similar to many of the issues surrounding alimony, if one party makes a lot of money each year, while the other party stays home with the kids, the ability of parties to afford an attorney will be impacted. 

    In cases where there is both the NEED and the ABILITY TO PAY, the court can order one party to reimburse the other party for the cost of their attorney.  This will also come up when one party is slowing down the divorce proceeding or otherwise causing more time to need to be spent on the case.  Understand though, this is a very high standard to meet and is by no means the norm for a divorce.

​Divorce Law

The first thing to remember about divorce in Florida is that it doesn’t have to be one parties fault.  Florida is a no fault state, which means that two people can get a divorce without anyone proving who is to blame.  You don’t need to prove that one party cheated on the other, didn’t try hard enough to keep the marriage together, or anything along those lines. 


Once a party is 100% certain they want a divorce and there is no chance of reconciliation, there are still many things to think about:

Lastly, understand that it will get worse before it gets better, most of the time no one “wins” a divorce but in many circumstances a divorce is what is best for ALL parties involved.  If this is still something that you are thinking about, give us at Jordan Law a call at (407) 906-JLAW (5529).  We treat our clients like family and we are here for you.

  • How will you split up the assets and liabilities? 
    In the State of Florida, we have what is called equitable distribution.  This does not mean that each party gets 50 percent of the assets and liability, but just that the court’s role is to split everything up in a manner that is equitable to both parties.  In many marriages the major asset is a house, sometimes one party will get the house and mortgage and the other party will get everything else that they want, otherwise, one party will have to buy out the others share of the house or else the parties will be forced to sell the house and split the money gained from the sale in some manner.  If the parties cannot agree on how to split up the assets and liabilities in the mortgage then the court will usually order the parties to mediation where a mediator will try to assist the parties in coming to a resolution.

  • What do you want to see happen with the children? 
    In addition to splitting up the assets and liabilities, if there are children from the marriage then obviously the court will also have to determine what happens with the children.  In these circumstances, the court acts in the best interests of the child.  Florida case law has set out that what is usually best for the child is frequent and continuing contact with both parents.  This can be changed if the parties live far away, if one party has a history of abuse, drugs or neglect, etc.  These determinations will be contained in a parenting plans which will outline as best as possible everything associated with the care of the child. 


    Parenting plans typically include: who gets which holidays, how decisions are made for what activities the child participates in, who pays of the child’s healthcare, who claims the child on their taxes, etc.  It is very important to make sure the parenting plan is as detailed as possible, otherwise you can find yourself constantly having to go back into court to fix or have one party held in contempt of court for not following the plan. 
  • Are you going to ask or offer to pay the other party any money every month (alimony)? 
    In addition to dividing up the assets and determining when each party will have their kids, the court will have to decide if one party will pay the other party alimony.  To make this determination we first need to figure out what length of marriage this is: short, moderate, or long term.
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