It's Your Divorce
A fair and peaceful result is possible
Divorce help in Sarasota, Florida
My goal is to help you negotiate a fair and peaceful end to your divorce in Sarasota. To help achieve this goal, my Sarasota divorce practice uses collaborative divorce, mediation, and resolving divorce cases before any paperwork is filed with the court.
As a divorced father of two, I know divorce was not what you expected. As a Sarasota divorce lawyer, with 20 years’ experience, I know that scorched earth litigation is not the answer to every issue you are facing.
You and your spouse are people and parents, not litigants. The solution is to choose a divorce process that treats you that way. Too often everyone loses when divorce cases are escalated through litigation. It does not need to be that way. Let me show you how.
Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator
One step at a time
Divorce is a big step. One of the biggest fears about divorce is the “unknown.” Will I have enough money? Will I get to see my kids? Will I be able to move? What will happen to my finances? How much will it cost?
Knowledge is the best way to fight the fear of the unknown. My goal with this site is to provide you pages of important information about divorce in Florida. I try to provide a brief summary of Florida divorce issues, and then let you dive as deep as you want to go.
It helps to think of divorce issues in manageable steps, and this site covers all the issues in detail: Parenting, Equitable Distribution, Alimony, Child Support, and Everything Else. Also, divorce does not require contested litigation. Take the time to research whether a process like Collaborative Divorce is a better choice for you and your children.
Florida Divorce Topics
Yes. Florida is a no-fault state for divorce.
The only claim required in a divorce petition is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”* In fact, the court may dismiss your case if you incorrectly claim grounds like “adultery,” “mental cruelty,” or “abandonment.”
* Section 61.052(1)(a), Florida Statutes. Section 61.052(1)(b), Florida Statutes, also allows you to claim the mental incapacity of a party.
- Lack of legal capacity (You are already married to someone else)
- Age (One of the parties is too young)
- Force (Think “Princes Bride”)
- Statutory prohibition (You can’t marry your sister)
- Unhappiness with the marriage
- The fact that the marriage is short term in nature
- Religious differences
The last county where the couple lived together, with a common intent to remain married.
The term the court uses to describe the correct county to file a case is “venue.”
The parties may consent venue, if the court has subject matter jurisdiction for the divorce. So, if both parties agree, a divorce case may be filed in a different county. For example, a divorcing couple might agree to file in an adjacent county for privacy reasons. However, if the responding party objects, the case will be moved from the “wrong” county back to the county where the couple last lived together.
Or as the court puts it, “The law is well settled in Florida that a cause of action for a dissolution of marriage arises in the Florida County in which both parties last resided with a common intent to remain married.”
In addition to filing the case in the correct venue, the court also needs “subject matter jurisdiction” to enter the divorce, and “personal jurisdiction” over the opposing party. The subject of jurisdiction is complex, and beyond the scope of this FAQ
The short answer is when the child turns 18 years.
There is a persistent myth that at age 12, a child can change custody based on the child’s preference. Florida law does not allow a child to pick a custodial parent at a certain age. Obviously, once a child is turns 18, and is an adult, the adult child is free to live where he or she wants.
One of the many factors the Court may consider in child custody cases is the child’s preference taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child. Section 61.13001(7)(d), Florida Statutes. But this just one of many factors the court may consider.
If you settle your divorce by agreement, part of that agreement could be to share custody of a pet.* If you take your case to trial, a judge would be required to award the pet to one party or the other.*
Pets are considered property, so the agreement would be some sort of joint ownership of the pet with contractual obligations. It would not be “custody” in the sense that the court maintains jurisdiction over the custody of children, with the ability to use the court’s contempt power to enforce.
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Recent Blog Posts
If if you have children outside of marriage in Florida, you should get a court approved Parenting Plan. Or risk not being able to see your child until a court figures things out. This is true even if you are the named father on the birth certificate. A recent case out of Florida’s 5th District
For divorcing parents, a new Florida court ruling makes it harder for one parent to request ultimate authority to make decisions for the parties’ children. Florida resolves custody issues for divorcing parents through a Parenting Plan. Put differently a Parenting Plan is a custody order. Parenting Plans have to address how divorced parents will
We love our pets. How are pets handled in a Florida divorce? In a Florida divorce the court treats pets as “personal property,” and handles pets the same way as cars, jewelry, pots and pans, and other items of stuff. The more detailed explanation of how pets are handled in a Florida divorce, was recently discussed
Florida allows alimony to be reduced or terminated if the spouse receiving alimony lives in a “Support Relationship” with their boyfriend or girlfriend.* What is a Supportive Relationship? The statue providing the definition of a Supportive Relationship lists a number of red flags indicators. The pooling of income and assets is often perceived as one
To protect children in a divorce, a trial court sometime has to include parenting restrictions in the child custody order. Examples of protective restrictions are supervised visits, reductions in parenting time, counseling requirements, or requirements related to a parent’s substance abuse problem. Sometimes the restrictions are directly related to a parent’s problems or behavior, and
(Or why you really need a lawyer if you are dividing retirement benefits) The rock musician Meat Loaf, in his 1977 hit “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” makes a promise to love his girlfriend “until the end of time.” If you know anything about the song, you know that it was a poorly made promise.