Family law matters can be stressful, can easily turn ugly and even feel never-ending. Decisions made in connection with divorce, paternity, or post judgment modifications, for example, can affect spouses, parents, and their children for the rest of their lives. It is important to retain a Miami family law lawyer who appreciates the potential impact of these matters. There are situations in which it is possible for a couple to reach a resolution in a family law dispute short of trial, but there are also disputes that demand a trial and that cannot be resolved in any other way. The other party is more likely to take your position seriously if you are represented by an experienced trial attorney. Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich is a dedicated trial lawyer who is ready to protect your interests.Getting a No-Fault Divorce
Florida allows spouses to divorce if they can show that their marriage is irretrievably broken. It is a no-fault state. You need to be a resident of the state for a minimum of six months before filing for dissolution of marriage. In a divorce, matters of property distribution, child custody, child support, and alimony may need to be addressed. While some spouses agree on most issues, others disagree on multiple aspects of a divorce. When there is a disagreement, the divorce may proceed to trial. In Florida, there is a simplified dissolution of marriage process, which can be used if both spouses agree to use that form of divorce, they agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken, they do not have minor or dependent children together, and they have agreed on the division of assets and liabilities.Property Distribution
Florida follows the rule of equitable distribution. The courts divide a divorcing couple’s property according to principles of fairness. This does not always result in an even split. Factors considered when dividing property include each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, their economic circumstances, how long the marriage lasted, the contribution of one spouse to the career or education of the other spouse, how desirable it is that a spouse retain an asset (such as a professional practice) free from the other spouse’s interference, the contribution of each spouse to acquiring income, the desirability of keeping the marital home as a residence for a dependent child, and any intentional dissipation of marital assets. A family law attorney can advise Miami residents on how these factors may apply to their situation.Child Custody (Time Sharing and Parental Responsibility)
When making a child custody determination, Florida courts will look at the child’s best interests. Custody is divided into time sharing (formerly known as physical custody) and parental responsibility (formerly known as legal custody). Time sharing refers to the child’s living arrangement, while parental responsibility refers to a parent’s right to make important decisions for the child regarding matters such as education, health, and religion.Child Support
Both parents have an obligation to support their child. Florida judges use the Florida Child Support Guidelines to calculate child support payments. These guidelines include a chart of basic child support amounts. Generally, when one parent spends most of the time with the child, and the other parent has visitation that is less than 20 percent of overnights, the basic calculation under the Guidelines will provide the amount that the non-custodial parent must pay the custodial parent. If there is substantial sharing of time with the child, the calculation is more complex, and a Miami family law attorney can advise you on what to expect. When child support is at issue in a divorce, the divorcing parents must file and exchange financial affidavits regarding their gross income. Gross income includes both earned and unearned income.Domestic Violence Injunctions
A person who believes that they are a victim of domestic violence can petition the court for an order of protection to prevent the alleged perpetrator from inciting further domestic violence. Protective orders based on domestic violence can only be issued if the two parties have a relationship by blood or marriage. The initial order of protection is usually “ex parte,” which means that the alleged perpetrator does not appear in court. This order will last for 15 days. After the alleged perpetrator presents their side of the story at a hearing, the judge will decide whether to extend the order and make it permanent. Regardless of whether you are pursuing or fighting an order of protection, you should get knowledgeable legal representation on your side to ensure that your interests are safeguarded.Discuss Your Situation with a Family Law Attorney
Family law matters should be handled by an experienced attorney who is sensitive to the importance of the outcome to family members, and who also can take a case to trial if needed. If you are considering or going through a divorce or a related proceeding in South Florida, you should consult Petkovich Law. Call us at 305-358-8003 or contact us via our online form to speak with a family law lawyer in the Miami area.