If you are considering filing for divorce, or are already in the midst of a divorce, an experienced attorney can assist you during this stressful and emotional time. The outcome of this proceeding could have lasting effects on your financial future and well being, as well as your relationship with your children, which makes it crucial to be prepared and to have the best representation possible. Judges in family law cases have a lot of discretion, so it is especially important in these cases to have someone who can help you present your case in a way that is likely to help you achieve your desired outcome. The Coral Gables divorce lawyers at Richard A. Schurr, P.A. can assist you with your divorce and associated family law matters, whether the situation is amicable, or you require a more aggressive approach. We will use a client-centered approach to help you strive for your personal goals and advocate on your behalf. We will zealously advocate on your behalf regardless of whether it is necessary to litigate, or negotiate.Property Division (Equitable Distribution)
Division of property is a large part of many divorce proceedings. In Florida, the court uses an "equitable distribution" property division approach to marital assets and liabilities. While it is important to note that "equitable" does not necessarily mean equal, it often does. However, even when the court strives to equally divide the marital estate, they still must consider which asset will go to which person and who will pay each liability. The court can order one party to pay credit card debt and the other party to pay tax debt. The court can award the marital residence to either party, or even order it sold.
Generally, any assets that were earned, or acquired during the marriage will be classified as marital property and be divided in half with your spouse, even if only one spouse is employed. In fact, where it is unclear as to whether an asset is marital the court will presume the asset to be marital unless evidence is presented to the contrary. Other factors that complicate division of assets include, but are not limited to situations where marital assets are used to improve the separate non-marital asset of one of the parties, asset valuations (real estate, art, jewelry), the preference of the parties, marital business interests (the value of the business), commingling of marital and non-marital assets, and marital waste (for example, gambling losses, and funds spent on paramours).
If one spouse inherits property, enters the marriage with property, or is gifted property, that property (and the proceeds from that property) can be considered separate property as long as it is not commingled with marital property.
For example, if one spouse inherits a valuable painting from her grandmother during the marriage and then sells the painting, the money from the painting is that party's own separate property and not classified as marital property to be divided between the parties. However, if she places the sales proceeds in a joint account that she shares with her spouse and then uses that money for household expenses, it will likely be considered marital property and subject to division. Our Coral Gables divorce attorneys can advise you on how these issues are likely to be resolved. In some cases, a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement will control the division of property, if it is found to be valid.
Courts first determine the division of marital assets before considering alimony as often times assets generate income which can reduce the need for alimony.Alimony (Maintenance or Spousal Support)
Another primary financial concern in a divorce case (besides child-related issues such as child custody and child support) is whether one party will be required to pay the other party alimony, also called maintenance, or spousal support. Florida law acknowledges five different kinds of alimony: temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, and permanent. Alimony can also be paid in a lump sum, and/or the court can give one party more of the marital assets to offset part, or all of the need for alimony.
Temporary alimony is awarded only during the period that the divorce is pending and will end automatically when the divorce is finalized. Bridge-the-gap alimony is maintenance that is paid to a party for up to two years to aid in the financial difficulties of transitioning from married to single life. For example, our Coral Gables divorce attorneys may be able to help you obtain this type of alimony if you are waiting for a house to sell, or waiting for other marital assets to become available. Rehabilitative alimony is often ordered by the court when one spouse has not worked during the marriage (often times because that spouse stayed home to care for the kids) while the other spouse is employed, or operates a business. Rehabilitative alimony is time-limited and is meant for the formerly stay-at-home spouse to become employable, whether through a degree, a certification, or a job training program. This kind of maintenance requires a plan that specifies and outlines the arrangement. Durational alimony can be granted for up to the length of the marriage (e.g., if you were married for five years, it can be granted for up to five years). It is meant to give a spouse some temporary financial support for reasons other than those mentioned above. Finally, courts can award permanent alimony, which is reserved only for long term marriages (over 17 years) and in cases in which one spouse is unable to become self-supporting, such as if they are disabled, have no work experience, and/or are unable to earn enough to become self-supporting. Permanent alimony is a presumption in long term marriages, but is not an entitlement. Alimony can also be modifiable, or non-modifiable, depending on whether the case goes to trial, or the terms of a settlement. Often times alimony obligations are secured with life insurance. Generally, alimony is paid periodically, although in rare cases, it may be awarded in a lump sum.Consult an Experienced Divorce Lawyer
Divorce is one of the most stressful experiences that a person can go through, but the assistance of a knowledgeable divorce attorney can help you end up with a favorable outcome. If there is a business involved, or complicated tax matter, it can be even more complex. The attorneys at Richard A. Schurr, P.A. focus on family and business law and can help you navigate the process and present your case in the most persuasive light during mediation, negotiations or litigation, if that becomes necessary. We handle cases throughout the Miami-Dade, Broward, and elsewhere in South Florida. Contact us today at (305) 204-4924, or use the form on this website to set up a consultation and discuss your options.