Florida Divorces: Three Common Divorce Myths
Divorce is not easy, and divorcing parties always want to have as much information as possible before beginning the process. People seek as much information as possible with the hope that doing so will un-complicate divorce. Today, divorcing parties usually rush to the internet to search for information. Friends and family, too, are a source of information. Unfortunately, many details found on the internet about divorce are incorrect and/or outdated. Additionally, not everything that friends or family share is accurate. Because of a lack of experience, changes in the law, subtle changes in the facts or law of cases, and other similar reasons, well-intentioned friends and family can share information based on incorrect and outdated beliefs, and erroneous conclusions.
Divorce is a complicated and sensitive process, and myths only overcomplicate the case. Because of this, it is important for divorcing parties to differentiate facts from fallacies. Once the facts and applicable law about a specific divorce are learned, each party can make decisions and help to make his or her divorce less complicated, confusing and expensive.
The following are three common divorce myths in Florida.
Myth 1: In Florida Divorce Cases, Courts Favor Women Over Men in Matters of Child Custody (Timesharing)
Many people assume that judges favor women over men when it comes to matters of children. First, in Florida, the legislature has updated the nomenclature and understanding of child related issues. The words “custody” and “visitation” have been replaced with the concept of “timesharing.” This is because judges understand that a parent should never “visit” a child, but rather, a parent should be recognized as “parenting” a child. Further, there are local guidelines established in each jurisdiction with regard to typical timesharing schedules to utilize in most cases. The “every other weekend parent” mentality is long gone. Today, in most jurisdictions, each parent can expect to spend a minimum of 40% of overnights with a child or children, and many parents establish timesharing schedules which are equal for each parent.
Lastly, based on the statutory factors, many fathers are awarded the majority of timesharing overnights with the child or children. The courts recognize that in today’s society, both parents often work and both parents play an equal role in child rearing. In Florida, these decisions on timesharing are based on the child or children’s best interests. It is unlawful for any court to make decisions based on the gender of either parent. Therefore, fathers and mothers have an equal opportunity to prevail on the issue of timesharing.
Please note, Florida courts do have the authority to award one parent sole parental responsibility and/or sole timesharing of a child or children; however, the court only has authority to order this in compelling circumstances such as when one parent is incapable of safely exercising timesharing.
Myth 2: In Florida Divorce Cases, the Innocent Party Receives All Marital Assets
Florida is a no-fault divorce state. Therefore, in divorce, the court is generally not concerned about who caused the marriage to fail. Divorcing parties only need to prove that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Even if one party’s sole or immoral act led to the irreparable differences in the marriage, Florida courts generally uphold equitable distribution (the equal division) of marital assets and liabilities between parties.
Notwithstanding, there are many exceptions to this general rule. For example, if one party depleted marital assets in the furtherance of an extramarital affair, the other party may be reimbursed for one-half of the amount of the dissipation of marital assets. Another example might be a compelling circumstance such as a disabled or dependent spouse who requires more assets to survive. This issue is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Myth 3: In Florida Divorce Cases, Children Can Decide Which Parent They Want To Live with
Under Florida Statute 61.13, the court will consider several factors when determining which parent will be awarded majority timesharing. One of these factors is the child or children’s reasonable preference when determining how to award timesharing. Despite this factor, the court must still consider all statutory factors. This factor is not more important than the other factors; however, if the child or children is/are older or if other circumstances are present, the Court may give greater weight to this factor alone.
Contact Us for Help Today
There are many divorce myths on the internet. Beware and do not be fooled. Also, your friends and family are not always right, despite their greatest of intentions. Attorneys are among the few people who can provide you with factual and legal information regarding divorce.
Contact an experienced Jacksonville divorce lawyer at The Lasky Law Firm today to receive all the facts regarding divorce.