Yesterday someone sent me a picture of a mug that said, “Don’t confuse your Google search with my law degree.” It is funny, but there is some truth in the statement. This mug got me thinking about the role of Google searches in divorces. When I first started practicing law there were no Google searches because there was no Google: I have been practicing law for a very long time. Clients were forced to rely upon their attorneys for all of their legal information and advice (notice I separated these concepts). Now, any time an issue comes up in a divorce it seems the client or the client’s family member or friend has “Googled” the issue in an effort to find an “answer.”
I am all for Google searches. I want my clients to have all the information they need to make a well-reasoned decision on each issue that arises in their divorce. However, some of the information on the internet is either untrue, misleading or is fact specific. I encourage every person going through a divorce to educate themselves on the law: if alimony is an issue you should know the factors for alimony; if child support is an issue, you should know how it is calculated; if timesharing is an issue you should have reviewed a parenting plan as it will be required.
Below I have listed some of the relevant statutes (laws promulgated by the legislature) and how to find them. I encourage every person going through a divorce or contemplating a divorce to read the statutes applicable to the issues that may occur in their divorce. However, I also encourage every person going through a divorce or contemplating a divorce to seek the advice of a seasoned family law attorney so they can get advice as to how the statutes apply to their unique circumstances, advice on an appropriate strategy for using the statutes to their best advantage, and advice on how previous courts have interpreted the statutes or advice as to whether there is additional “case law” which may be relevant to your circumstances (case law is defined as law established by the outcome of former cases).
Title VI: Civil Practice
Chapter 61: Dissolution of Marriage, Support and Timesharing
Statutes which may be of interest:
61.07: Temporary alimony
61.075: Equitable Distribution
61.13: Support of children, Parenting Plan, Timesharing and Parental Responsibility
61.13001: Parental Relocation
61.14: Enforcement & Modification
61.16: Attorney’s fees
61.30: Child support guidelines
PATERNITY ISSUES: Title XLIII: DOMESTIC RELATIONS; Chapter 742: Determination of Parentage
SUPPORT PAST 18 YEARS OLD: Statute 743.07(2): This section shall not prohibit any court of competent jurisdiction from requiring support for a dependent person beyond the age of 18 years when such dependency is because of a mental or physical incapacity which began prior to such person reaching majority or if the person is dependent in fact, is between the ages of 18 and 19, and is still in high school, performing in good faith with a reasonable expectation of graduation before the age of 19.
All relevant forms: www.flcourts.org/: Go to Family Law Forms: Don’t pay for these forms when you can download them for free.