Defending Your Peace of Mind
At The Virga Law Firm, P.A., we understand how highly emotional and complex family law matters can be. Understandably, you might have several questions regarding your situation, whether it’s about divorce, child custody, division of property, alimony or domestic abuse. We encourage you to read answers to some of the most common family law questions below. If you don’t see your question answered, then get in touch with our firm!
Common Questions About Divorce
How long does it take to get a divorce in Florida?
The length of the divorce process hinges on whether your case is contested or uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, both parties have to reach an agreement regarding all matters, like division of property, child support, visitation, and alimony. Altogether, an uncontested divorce can take as little as 4 to 5 weeks. However, if the matter is contested, you’re looking at 6 months to a year or more from the time of filing, especially if young children are involved.
What are the requirements for filing for divorce in Florida?
In Florida, either spouse must be a resident of the state for at least 6 months preceding the filing of the petition for dissolution. If you are currently in the military and are stationed outside of Florida, you are still considered a resident and your status remains intact.
How much does it cost to file for divorce?
Attorney fees aside, you must pay $408 for filing fees in a divorce case, whether it’s contested or uncontested. Additional costs may be included if there is a service of process, mediation, or a “Parent Education and Family Stabilization” course (if minor children are involved).
Can I relocate with my children out of state during a divorce?
You cannot change the residence of your children from the school zone in which the marital home is currently located without a written agreement signed by both parties, or an order of the court. Relocation is defined as a move of at least 50 miles from the marital residence and for at least 60 consecutive days, which means you’ll need permission even if you try and leave to another city. If one parent objects, the matter will be taken to court, where the judge will make a decision based on the child’s best interests. Attempting to move without complying with the requirements can result in the return of the child and other consequences.
How is property divided?
The general rule is that Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital property—or property acquired during the marriage with marital funds or labor—is divided equally upon divorce (unless there is a reason for unequal division). Non-marital property, which are assets and liabilities acquired before the marriage, remain the sole and separate property of the spouse upon divorce.
How is alimony calculated?
If a spouse faces financial hardship due to a divorce, spousal support or alimony may be ordered. According to the law, an individual has the right to maintain the standard of living that they were accustomed to during their marriage. However, if both spouses are employed and self-sufficient, or married for a very short period, alimony may not be awarded.
Who pays child support and how is it determined?
The spouse who is ordered to pay child support is the one with whom the child does not legally reside with, known as the non-custodial parent. Child support payments are then determined on each parent’s income and the amount of time they spend with the child.
Can I stay at home during my divorce?
In Florida, if you and your spouse own your home together, it’s considered a marital asset and neither you nor your spouse would abandon any rights to the property by moving out. If you decide to stay in your home, you may potentially receive assistance from your spouse, including child support or alimony, to help offset the mortgage payments and other home-related expenses.
What if my spouse becomes violent?
If you or your child are harmed due to abuse, you need to contact the police or 911 immediately. As soon as it’s safe, find somewhere else to stay—like your family’s house—or contact your local center for victims of domestic violence. You can also file a restraining order by contacting the clerk of court or an attorney. A temporary domestic violence restraining order can be issued in a matter of hours.
Do I really need a family law and divorce attorney?
A family law and divorce attorney can protect your rights and ensure that you receive a fair and just outcome for your case. An experienced professional understands the complexities surrounding family law issues, and as a result, they can assist you with all the required documentation that must be filed with the courts. A mistake can result in more stress and a drawn-out conclusion.
Gerard Virga Founding Attorney
David Lohr Executive Director/Attorney
Chad Self Fort Walton Beach Managing Attorney
Tracie Phillips Orlando Managing Attorney
William West Ritchie Panama City Managing Attorney
Taylor Tippel Panama City Beach Managing Attorney
Andrea Ansley Attorney
Christopher Melendez Attorney
April Hand Operations Manager and Florida Registered Paralegal
Danny Durnbaugh Chief Financial Officer
“I will definitely be recommending to anyone I know that needs a child custody or divorce attorney!” - A Divorce Client
“If you are looking for an attorney who is professional, honest, knowledgeable and responsive to your needs, Gerard Virga meets such requirements.” - A Divorce Client
“He responded to my messages promptly and I never felt rushed when speaking with him in meetings and phone conversations.” - A Divorce Client