At Ellis and Bryant, we are committed to representing clients throughout Northeast Florida in a wide range of family law matters. Our Jacksonville divorce lawyers understand that divorces and related matters may be difficult and stressful for everyone involved. We work to efficiently protect clients’ rights and interests, with an emphasis on resolving matters in a timely and painless manner whenever possible. We pride ourselves in taking a proactive approach to legal representation. Our family law attorneys explore every opportunity to keep the family unit together, while standing ready to litigate disputes at trial when needed.Florida’s Simplified Divorce Process
There is some good news for people considering a divorce in Florida. State law allows many couples to take advantage of a streamlined legal process to end their marriages without long, drawn-out court battles. The simplified process gives the spouses, rather than a judge, the power to decide how their property will be divided and other issues will be resolved.
In order to use the simplified process, divorcing spouses must not have any children under the age of 18. They also need to agree on how their property will be divided and agree that neither spouse is seeking alimony from the other spouse. Alimony, or spousal support, is money that one spouse may agree or be ordered to pay to the other spouse following a divorce in order to help that person meet basic needs and maintain the standard of living enjoyed by the spouses during the marriage.
One of the spouses must also have lived in Florida for the last six months to be eligible for the simplified process, and the spouses need to assert that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” This does not mean that they need to blame each other for the split. All that the spouses need to do is tell the court that they are not getting back together. Our divorce attorneys can help Jacksonville residents and other clients determine whether they may qualify for this process.Contested Divorce
Couples who do not qualify for the streamlined process typically need to go before a judge in a more traditional legal proceeding in order to get divorced. That said, they can still go a long way toward resolving the matter by negotiating an agreement on how they will care for their kids, divide property like the family home, and work out child and spousal support.
Florida judges are required to divide a couple’s property in a way that is equitable, or fair, to both spouses. This sometimes means simply splitting it down the middle, but there are a number of factors that a judge needs to take into account when making a decision. These include the length of the marriage, as well as each spouse’s contributions and financial situation. In some cases, a judge may order that a family home be sold and the proceeds divided between the spouses. In other situations, one spouse may be permitted to stay in the home if they pay the other spouse for their interest in the home.
Judges consider similar factors in deciding whether to award spousal support. These include the spouses’ standard of living during the marriage, their earning capacities, and their financial security.Contact a Divorce Lawyer in the Jacksonville Area
At Ellis and Bryant, we have a wealth of experience fighting for clients in court and at the negotiating table. Partner Samantha Ellis is a seasoned Jacksonville divorce attorney who has helped clients resolve family law issues on favorable terms. Our firm is committed to serving clients throughout the region in their times of need. We also represent people in Jacksonville Beach, Orange Park, Middleburg, and other communities in Duval and Clay Counties. Call us at (904) 551-4120 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. We also are available to assist people who need a criminal defense lawyer to help them fight charges of DUI or other crimes.