Nobody gets married hoping to get divorced, but the reality is that a long-lived marriage is not guaranteed. Even though divorce is common, dissolving a marriage can be complicated and is often emotionally difficult. An experienced family attorney can be a big help in this situation.

If you have decided to end your marriage, speak with a West Miami divorce lawyer as soon as possible. Our team can provide legal guidance and personal support as we help you through this challenging time.

The Procedure for Divorcing in West Miami

A married couple can file for divorce in Florida if one of the spouses has lived here for at least six months at the time of filing. Although Florida is a no-fault state for divorce, the spouse who files must include a legal basis for divorce. The two legal grounds are:

  • The marriage is irretrievably broken
  • The other spouse is mentally incapacitated

If the filing spouse claims mental incapacity for the other partner, they must provide proof their spouse has been incapacitated for three years.

Simplified Divorce

A simplified divorce is available if the spouses have no minor children together and no one is pregnant. They must waive alimony and reach an agreement regarding property and debt division before filing. A simplified divorce is quicker and less expensive than a regular divorce but may not be the best option if a couple has joint assets.

Regular Divorce

When a couple has minor children, if one of the spouses seeks alimony or the couple cannot agree on property division, they must use the regular divorce procedure. One spouse must petition for divorce, while the other submits a response to the filing, and they can begin the discovery process. The spouses exchange information that explains their financial holdings and debts, and begin negotiating the unresolved issues between them.

If they can agree on alimony, property division, child support, and child custody, they can submit their agreements to the court. In many cases, the divorce attorneys for a West Miami couple can help them come to an acceptable settlement. In other cases, the couple might find it helpful to have a neutral mediator.

If the couple cannot agree on one or more issues, they must appear at a trial before a Judge. Their legal representatives will argue their positions, call witnesses, and cross-examine the other side’s witnesses. Trials are expensive and stressful, and put the power to decide personal issues in the hands of a Judge. In most cases, avoiding a trial will benefit all parties.

Divorce Issues Relating to Children

When parents with minor children decide to divorce, they must submit a parenting plan to the court. There are four types of parenting plans approved by the courts in the state:

  • The basic plan;
  • A plan that is highly structured;
  • One that is suitable when one parent lives far away from the children;
  • A safety-focused plan if child abuse or domestic violence has been an issue in the home.

A West Miami divorce attorney can provide more information about which plan is most appropriate in a specific case.

The courts publish a parenting plan template to help parents ensure their plan covers all the elements the courts require. Parents can submit a plan they agreed upon, or each parent could submit their desired plan and the court will decide. Even when the parents agree on a plan, Florida Statutes § 61.13 requires the court to confirm that they support the children’s best interests.

Parents also must agree to child support in a divorce. Both parents have the legal obligation to ensure their children have food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, and education until the child reaches age 18, in most cases. The state employs a formula to determine the minimum child support a parent must pay, but many factors can change the formula’s determination.

Seek Help From a West Miami Divorce Attorney Today

Working with a capable attorney can ease the divorce process and help ensure you meet your goals. Speak with a West Miami divorce lawyer as soon as you decide to make this change in your life. Our attorneys can explain what steps you need to take and help you prepare for what is to come. Call our law firm today for a free consultation.