You’ve decided to get a divorce. It’s painful, stressful and can be overwhelming. Make the most out of your first consultation with your attorney by using this 5-point guide to prepare and organize your thoughts and to make sure you don’t forget anything.
P is for Parental Responsibility and Timesharing
If you have a minor child, this is the first area you want to think about. There is no such thing as “custody” or “visitation” in Florida. Instead, we speak in terms of parental responsibility and timesharing. Parental responsibility involves decisionmaking about the child (What school will the child attend? What medical treatment is okay?) and timesharing, which refers to actual physically spending time with the child. The main consideration here is: what is in the best interests of the child?
E is for Equitable Distribution
Equitable distribution refers to dividing up the assets and debts of the marriage. Only marital assets and debts will be divided. Marital assets and debts are typically those that are acquired during the marriage, regardless of who appears on title. The main consideration here is: when was the asset acquired or the debt incurred? If the answer is: “during the marriage,” then it will likely be divided and unless one of you has dissipated the assets (used marital property for your own non-marital purposes), then the distribution is usually 50/50.
A is for Alimony
Alimony refers to spousal support paid by one spouse to the other. The main consideration here is: does one of you have a need and does the other one have the ability to pay? Some things to look at when thinking about alimony are: the length of the marriage, standard of living, and ability to work by the spouse asking for support.
C is for Child Support
The child support amount is calculated based on the income of both parents and the number of children. In addition, the children’s health insurance and childcare costs factor in. The child support amount is calculated based on how much time the child spends with each parent. The main consideration here is: how much income the parents make and how many overnights each parent has?
E is for Everything Else
Anything else that has not already been discussed, should be included here.
In the end, divorce can be a traumatic experience for the entire family. Getting informed and knowing the process goes a long way to beginning the process of healing and bringing peace back to the home.