Peeler Law Firm, PLLC

T: (850) 432-7705 | F: (850) 433-6222

201 E. Government Street

Pensacola, FL 32502

Serving the Florida Panhandle

©2020 by Peeler Law Firm, PLLC. 

FAMILY LAW

Experienced Family Law Counsel

Resolving issues involving a divorce, separation or family-related matter through the legal system is often painful, stressful and taxing for all parties involved. The law is complex, and each state has implemented its own rules and requirements regarding family law issues. At Peeler Law Firm, PLLC, Stan Peeler has extensive experience with family law, having handled thousands of family law cases.

Don't hesitate to schedule a free consultation with our firm today by calling 850-432-7705 or filling out our online form here. Our firm offers incomparable guidance to help you determine the best path moving forward. 

Divorce in florida

When you and/or your spouse determine that a divorce is a necessary step in your marriage, it may seem overwhelming to start the divorce process. There are many factors that can influence where to begin, how long the process will take, and what you can expect when filing for divorce. These factors include whether the couple have children and if any of those children are minors, the state(s) of residence, marital debt, property and assets, and others.

In Florida, either spouse may file for divorce if the marriage is irretrievably broken, meaning there is no chance for reconciliation, or if one of the spouses has become mentally incapacitated for at least three years. Some key points for consideration:
 

  • You do not have to prove that the other person was at fault in order to get a divorce.

  • At least one spouse must reside in Florida for at least six months prior to filing a petition for divorce.

  • You must file the petition in the circuit court where you or your spouse lives.

Child custody

During divorce proceedings, matters involving parenting time and child custody are usually the most difficult issues to resolve. However, with an experienced attorney assisting you during the process, it doesn't have to be.

 

When it comes to time-sharing (often referred to in lay terms as child custody), Florida courts are required to implement visitation arrangements that are in the best interests of the children involved, arrangements that are preferably shared equally between the parents. 

To establish a time-sharing arrangement, courts will look at various  statutory factors that include, among others, the following:

 

  • Physical and emotional health of each parent

  • The ability and availability of each parent to participate in and provide for the child's needs

  • A history of an environment involving violence, abuse or neglect

  • The age of the child and family history regarding nurturing/caregiving for the child

child support modifications

Either parent can request a modification, but the law in Florida is strict and certain requirements must be met.

In Florida, a modification of child support can be altered by a petition if there is a substantial change in circumstances of either party. Traditional examples include:
 

  • Change in income or expenses, such as when a parent loses a job or becomes disabled

  • Change in time sharing, such as when overnight arrangements or holiday schedules change

NUPTIAL AGREEMENTS

While most people are familiar with a prenuptial agreement, or "prenup", there is also a postnuptial agreement that can be filed after a couple has been married. Both agreements refer to the assets shared between two people during their marriage, it's simply a matter of when the agreement is filed. This can be done before the marriage, which is a "prenup", or it can be done after the marriage, which is a "postnup". 

 

Deciding whether or not to file a nuptial agreement depends largely on the circumstances of both parties, including whether there is significant debt, if there are children from previous relationships, or if a spouse wishes to have clear designations in the event of a divorce. 

There are also certain requirements that an agreement must have in order for it to be valid, such as consent from both parties (i.e. no individual can be pressured to sign the agreement), reasonable fairness to both parties, and valid provisions.

military divorce in florida

Where one or both spouses of the marriage is or has been a member of the military, unique circumstances exist which are different from a dissolution of marriage where neither party has been in the military.

 

One difference is that residency requirements for military personnel are not the same as that required of civilian spouses. Another unique circumstance includes consideration of the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act. Where military members are on active duty, the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act prohibits a dissolution of marriage proceeding from moving forward during the entirety of the time the military member is on active duty, and for 60 days thereafter. The active military member's ability to raise the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act may be waived in circumstances where the military member has the desire to simply move through the divorce process notwithstanding active duty.

In addition, military retirement benefits further distinguish the military divorce process. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA) is the governing body of law that authorizes a direct payment of a portion of a military retiree's pay to the former spouse. Because of this, the USFSPA dictates how military retirement is calculated and distributed in the event of a dissolution of marriage.

CHILD SUPPORT

A common misconception of child support is that it's the father's responsibility alone, however this is not always the case. The financial support of a child, or children, in a marriage can fall on both parents simultaneously. 

 

A court may, at any time, order either or both parents who owe a duty of support to a child to pay child support to the other parent in accordance with the guidelines in Section 61.30, Florida Statutes. Payment of child support is not contingent on parenting time or contact with the child.

A parent who does not pay a child support obligation may not be denied time-sharing on that basis. Likewise, a parent may not refuse to make child support payments because the time-sharing plan is not being honored by the parent who should have received child support.

A parent may not be relieved of a duty to pay child support by agreeing not to see the children. However, the amount of time each parent spends with the children can affect the amount of child support paid.

alimony modifications

Monthly spousal support modifications can be requested if a substantial change in circumstances affects the payor's ability to pay or the payee's continued need.

Examples of these substantial changes include:

 

  • One party receiving a large inheritance

  • One party remarrying

  • One party's inability to earn a living due to a medical condition

  • Involuntary changes in income

  • Retirement

marital property division

Florida is what's known as an 'equitable distribution' state. Equitable distribution refers to the way that spouses in Florida divide their property and debts when they divorce. While some states have community property rules requiring an exactly equal division of marital property and debts, most states require only a fair, or equitable, division. However, an equitable division in Florida will typically mean an equal division.

The procedure to be followed by Courts when distributing property in dissolution of marriage case is found in Section 61.075 (3), Florida Statutes.

 

Initially, the court must classify all assets and liabilities owned by the parties, either jointly or individually, as either marital or nonmarital. Once this classification is complete, the court will distribute to each spouse that spouse's nonmarital assets and liabilities. Thereafter, marital assets and liabilities must be distributed in accordance with various factors, some of which are found in the statute.

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