Divorce can be a complicated process, especially with children. The acronym PEACE can be used to remember the major points. When filing for divorce, keep these in mind.
Parenting Plan: Required under Florida law, and is split into parental responsibility and child time-sharing. Technically, there is no “primary parent,” “custody” or “visitation” under Florida divorce law. Instead, parents are both expected to share responsibility. Each parent is expected to contribute their maximum potential. This is based on Florida’s view that a child should consider both divorcees their parents.
Equitable Distribution: The way your property, either “assets” or “liabilities,” will be divided up. In Florida, property is usually shared equally.This means you and your spouse will get the same value of assets and liabilities. For example, say the two of you jointly own two cars of equal value. The value of the cars will be equitably distributed to you both, each receiving half. This happens even if your name isn’t on the titles. After divorce, you need to have your car re-titled in your name only. The same principle applies to debts. No matter who’s racked up the debt, you will each be responsible for half of it.
Alimony: This is a payment the wealthier spouse makes to other spouse. Alimony is meant to help the other spouse adjust to living on one income. It can be short or long term. This is not “spite money,” and may only be paid if one spouse has proven financial need. So, if you have similar salaries and living expenses, no one will get alimony. Duration of alimony payments is largely decided by the marriage’s length. For marriages less than seven years (short-term), the period is usually short. However, for one longer than 17 years (long-term), alimony payments may be made for life.
Child Support: Unlike alimony, child support is long-term. It typically lasts until the child turns eighteen or graduates high school. The amount of child support paid is based on a number of factors. These include the number of children, the parent’s incomes, the time spent with each parent, and the cost of a health insurance, day care, and other expenses. Child support is generally paid out-of-pocket. It is deposited untaxed into the receiver’s bank account.
Everything Else: This mostly means attorney’s fees, moving costs, and the other details that make up the process of separation and adjustment.