What is a divorce?
Technically speaking, a divorce is the judicial termination of marriage by two people.
How to proceed with a divorce through the Florida legal system can be challenging and Ian C. Hurley a local, Jacksonville Beach Divorce Attorney can help you through your difficult time.
What is a legal separation?
There is no such thing in Florida as a legal separation. Instead, there is a separate maintenance action. This is a judicial determination to separate spouses and provide support without a judicial termination of the marriage. The court makes the same decisions about child support, child custody and alimony as in a divorce. However, separate maintenance means the married parties are legally separated, but not divorced. They are still technically married, but not responsible for one another.
Why would you request a separate maintenance action?
For instance, if you have not been a resident of the state of Florida for 6 months, you cannot yet file a divorce action, but may still need court intervention to provide support.
You may not be ready for a divorce, but need financial support.
Your religious beliefs may prevent you from requesting a divorce, yet you are in need of financial support or a judicial determination of custody and visitation issues.
What is a “no-fault divorce?”
No-fault divorce is a term that meansthe court does not get involved in the reasons for the divorce. According to older laws and regulations, the party who started the divorce process had to prove reasons for getting the divorce, such as adultery or abuse. This required difficult, often embarrassing questions about the couple’s private lives. No-fault divorce laws changed this drastically. Now divorce laws in most states allow one of the parties to get a divorce if he or she states in court that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
What is the difference between a divorce and an annulment?
A divorce is the termination of a marriage that existed. An annulment is the undoing of a marriage as if it never existed. Annulments are only available under limited circumstances.
What are some of the grounds for an annulment?
- The marriage was never consummated
- One of the parties was fraudulently mislead by the other
- One of the parties was not of the age to consent to marriage
- One of the parties did not have the mental ability to understand they were entering into marriage
How much will a divorce cost?
There is no flat fee. Every case is different. A divorce can be contested or uncontested. We always try to resolve your case in a timely and uncontested manner. However, when one or both parties are not in agreement, litigation is sometimes necessary.
Is it better to settle a divorce or go to trial?
It is always better to settle your case. Litigation should be used as a last resort. It is usually time consuming, costly and emotionally draining. The judicial system encourages settlement and often requires attempts to settle. 95% of all cases settle. Attorneys can often come to more creative and beneficial resolutions than a judge can. Of course, there are circumstances in which it may be best to go to trial.
If reconciliation is not possible and divorce is necessary, is there an alternative to a court trial?
Yes, mediation is a valid option. Mediation allows you and your spouse to agree to the terms of your divorce without going to court.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
In nearly all circumstances, hiring an attorney to represent you in a divorce or family law case is a good idea. An experienced family law attorney will work to ensure your side of the story is heard by the courts, and if you and your spouse decide to settle your case, your attorney can ensure that your rights are fully protected.
Frequently Asked Questions