Divorce

There are many different aspects to a divorce litigation and it is important to have an experienced family law attorney guide you through the process and advise you on the law and the potential ramifications of the decisions you may be required to make.  There are many different ways a divorce can be accomplished depending on the circumstances and the parties involved.  Sometimes it is best if the focus is on settlement, while other times litigation will be the best course of action.  We will evaluate your unique circumstances and goals and advise you on the law and how the law impacts your specific circumstances so that together we can make well-reasoned decisions on how to proceed with your case.

Our philosophy at Baker & Zimmerman is that knowledge is power and the more you know about your legal rights and each party’s obligations, and the more we are able to uncover through the discovery process, the better armed we will be to fight for your financial security and/or your children.   We always make a good faith effort to settle our family law cases without the need for litigation.  However, if a fair settlement is not possible, we will zealously represent you and fight for you every step of the way.

LET US REPRESENT YOU WITH REGARD TO THE FOLLOWING ISSUES THAT MAY ARISE IN YOUR DIVORCE:

Equitable distribution:  How the court is going to distribute (divide) the assets and liabilities acquired during the marriage.  Equitable distribution involves identifying and valuing marital assets and liabilities. In high net worth cases or in cases where one spouse is self-employed (and potentially secreting money), this requires not only an experienced family law attorney, but also often requires the assistance of a forensic accountant.

Alimony:  There are many different types of alimony available in Florida:  Bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, lump sum or permanent (or any combination of these forms).   There is no set formula for determining the amount of alimony.  The standard for alimony is need on the part of one spouse and ability of the other spouse to pay.  Section 61.08(2) Florida Statues sets forth the factors the court will consider in determining the appropriate type and amount of alimony to be awarded.   In determining alimony there is a rebuttable presumption that a short term marriage is less than 7 years, a moderate-term marriage is greater than 7 years but less than 17 years, and a long term marriage is 17 years or more.    Your financial security may depend on how much alimony you receive or how much alimony you are required to pay and it is in your intelligent best interest to be represented by a seasoned family law attorney.

Parental Responsibility: The term “custody” is no longer used in the state of Florida.  Rather, in Florida, the court will determine whether it is in the best interest of the child for the parents to jointly make major decisions involving their child such as health care and educational issues (shared parental responsibility) or whether one parent should be given the sole responsibility for making major decisions for the child in all areas or in specific areas (sole parental responsibility).  The court can also order that in the event the parents cannot agree on an appropriate decision in a specified area, one parent will be given the right to make the ultimate decision (ultimate responsibility).   We can help you determine which option is most appropriate in your specific situation.

Timesharing:  The court will put in place a “parenting plan” which will determine the amount of time the child spends with each parent.  The timesharing arrangement will influence the child support calculation.  It is the public policy of the state of Florida that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved.  The court will consider the best interest of the child in determining an appropriate schedule.  There is nothing more important to a parent than maintaining their relationship with their child and assuring the child’s safety during timesharing.  We will fight for your right to spend sufficient time with your child or if necessary fight to assure that the child is exercising timesharing in a safe environment.  If the circumstances require it, we will request no timesharing, limited timesharing or supervised timesharing.

Child Support: Both parents owe a duty of support to their minor child(ren).  Child support in Florida is based upon a formula.   The formula is dependent on incomes and therefore it is critical to assure that the incomes used are appropriate:  This may involve uncovering hidden sources of income or requesting that the court impute income to an unemployed or underemployed spouse.