Serving Fort Myers, Lee County and the surrounding areas in Florida

Law Office of Christopher Whitney

As a Lee County family lawyer I am entrusted with not only the financial future and sometimes safety of my client, but more importantly many times their children. This means that my advice must always come with a grave sense of responsibility for the impact that any court decision will make on their life.

 

DIVORCE

 

Florida has jurisdiction over a dissolution of marriage if one party has been a resident of Florida for at least six (6) months. Florida does not have legal separations and you are not required to be separated prior to filing a dissolution of marriage.

  • Uncontested Divorce - An uncontested divorce is a divorce in which both parties have resolved every issue including but not limited to: the parenting plan, equitable distribution of assets and debts, alimony and attorneys fees. An uncontested divorce can be accomplished in as little as twenty five days.

  • Contested Divorce - A contested divorce is a divorce in which both parties have not resolved all of the issues of the case. Even if both parties want a divorce, if the parties cannot resolve ALL issues the divorce is still contested.

  • No Fault Divorce - Florida is a no fault state which means that if one party desires to be divorced even if the other party does not want a divorce, a divorce will be granted. Testimony is required by the party seeking divorce that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

 

TIME SHARING 

 

* There is no such term as “custody” in the Florida Statutes nor is there a primary or secondary residential parent designation in the Florida Statutes. In Florida, both parents have “time-sharing” with their children. The court will order a time-sharing schedule that is in the best interests of the children taking into consideration factors enumerated in §61.13, Florida Statutes

 

The state of Florida resolves child custody issues by establishing a parenting plan. A parenting plan includes a time sharing schedule for both parents, parental responsibilities, and child support.

 

VISITATION

 

This term has been abolished by the legislature and now parents have a time sharing schedule that is included in the parenting plan.

 

TIME SHARING SCHEDULE

 

This is a schedule that establishes the time the child spends with each parent. The Court can use a schedule similar to the “standard visitation schedule” that was used prior to the change in the law. That schedule is every other weekend, alternating holidays, and six weeks in the summer. All time sharing schedules are different and adapted to the facts of each case.

 

PATERNITY

 

In Florida, when a mother is married and gives birth, the law assumes the child's father is the mother's husband. But when the mother is unmarried at the time of the child's birth, paternity must be established, either voluntarily or through court order.

 

ALIMONY

 

The state of Florida has different types of alimony.

Permanent Periodic Alimony - Alimony paid by one spouse to the other for life or until the receiving spouse marries or dies. Permanent Periodic Alimony can also be terminated if the receiving spouse is cohabitating with a person of the opposite sex provided the arrangements meet certain statutory criteria. The amount of alimony paid depends on the facts of the case.

Temporary Rehabilitative Alimony - Temporary rehabilitative alimony can be established to allow one spouse to retrain, reeducate or otherwise allow the spouse to enter the workforce. This is a factually based determination and the length of time paid and amount vary.

Bridge the Gap Alimony - Bridge the gap alimony is used to allow one spouse to “get back on their feet.” This is also very factually based and the length of time paid and the amounts vary.

 

CHILD SUPPORT

 

Child support is mandatory and cannot be waived by the parties except in certain limited circumstances. The calculation of child support is based upon the “net income” of each parent. Net income is gross income less any deductions allowed under the statute. Child support can be paid directly to the receiving party or through the State of Florida.

 

MODIFICATION

 

A modification can be sought to change the terms of a Final Judgment of dissolution of marriage, Modification is generally sought to change custody, child support and alimony. A party cannot modify equitable distribution of assets and liabilities.

 

ABANDONMENT

 

There is no law for abandonment in the State of Florida. However, if one party has left the home for an extended period, ignored minor children for an extended period, or otherwise become uninvolved in the marriage, these facts may affect different issues in the dissolution of marriage or modification.

 

RELOCATION

 

Since January of 2009 the State of Florida has adopted new relocation statutes. There have been several changes to this Statute. Any party who wishes to relocate more than fifty (50) miles away and relocation will affect the current time sharing or visitation scheduled the party must file to relocate. The procedure is similar to filing a Petition for Divorce or Petition for Modification.

 

Proactive and Passionate Legal Expertise

Uniquely Qualified To Manage Every Aspect Of A Family Law Case

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Safeguard the future of your family

At the Law Office of Christopher Whitney we believe in providing strong, compassionate legal counsel for cases of divorce, child custody, and family law.