When an individual enters a divorce, it is all too common to have some preconceived ideas about the divorce process based upon a friend’s past experience, information they read on social media, or witnessed on a TV show. With the great deal of information, we have access to, it is natural to receive some misinformation. Especially in the realm of divorce, many have never personally experienced the divorce process and never entered a legal case. Therefore, it is important to be properly informed and refute the most common myths about a Florida divorce with your Orlando Divorce Attorney.
One of the most common myths surrounding divorce involve gender stereotypes. Many believe that only wives will be awarded alimony, primary custody of a child, or child support. However, this is not the case. Florida law is gender neutral in regards to such awards and child custody arrangements. In fact, when determining child support, the court uses a specific child support guideline that focuses on the income of the parties and divides the support necessary into percentages. The court specifically looks at the numbers and not gender of the parties. Further, when awarding child custody and alimony the court is charged with looking at specific factors to determine proper findings. The reason many have the misconception that only females are awarded primary custody or alimony is because of the factors the court takes into consideration. For instance, a large factor in alimony is the interruption of a career of a spouse, and contribution to the marriage in household management or child rearing. Most family dynamics have the wife as the individual whose career was interrupted and who has remained home with the children while the other spouse provides the financial support for the family, resulting in an award of alimony. Similarly, in a child custody arrangement the court considers the respective input each parent has in the daily aspect and care of the child. Therefore, in many cases the wife will be awarded primary custody because of her daily involvement in the child’s social, educational, and health care. However, simply because statistics favor a certain gender, does not mean this is the case in every family and these factors actually require the court to look at the total picture.
Another myth regarding divorce in Florida is the understanding of equitable distribution of property. Many believe that when property is divided in a marriage it is divided strictly 50/50 between the parties. However, the process is generally more detailed than a simple 50/50 division and focuses on equity and fairness. Therefore, the court first determines what property is subject to distribution by classifying each item as marital or nonmarital property. Generally, marital property is of the nature that is acquired during the time of the marriage. However, this involves another common myth that if an item is obtained only in one spouse’s name that the other spouse has no right to it. This is not true. Whether acquired individually or jointly, if acquired during the time of a valid marriage, the property will be determined as marital and is divided between the parties. After classification, the court will assess an equitable division. When determining equity, the court may consider the incomes of the parties, the contributions, or depletions by a party, the child custody agreement, marital misconduct, or any other factor that the court finds factors into a fair distribution. Therefore, many cases in Florida do not award property in an exact 50/50 split. Instead, the court seeks out equity and fairness.
Unfounded myths about divorce are very common and unfortunately provide false hope or resolutions to an individual entering the process. However, your Orlando Divorce Attorney can explain in detail the process of a Florida divorce and specific facts that you will need to know for your unique case or situation. Therefore, if you have any preconceived notions or questions surrounding your divorce case, bring them to the attention of your Orlando Divorce Attorney to ensure you are properly informed moving forward with your case.
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