Divorce Laws in Florida

Attorney Howard Iken discusses common issues in Florida Divorce Law


Divorce laws in Florida are contained in a section of the Florida Statutes called Chapter 61. That statute guides most, if not all divorce issues – including parenting time, alimony, child support, division of assets, and entitlement to attorney fees. The Florida statute on divorce is comprehensive but does no contain the sum-total of all information needed to guide a divorce. Our attorneys look to the statutes and then study prior cases for decisions that interpret or clarify statutes.

A Florida divorce court will normally consider all involved issues in a certain order. Attorneys remember the priority of issues by thinking of an acronym known as PEACE. That is a simple way for attorneys to remember the order in which a court should address the existing issues. Read on to learn the basic framework courts use to evaluate a divorce case in Florida:

 

P – Parenting issues (custody, time-sharing, school, medical, etc)

 

Parenting issues involve decisions on the children such as: where they will sleep, where they go to school, doctors, religion, transportation. Think of parenting issues as everything a child does on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual bases. When children are involved in a divorce case parenting decisions have priority. That is why we show parenting at the top of the list. Florida now requires any case involving children to end up with a comprehensive document called a parenting plan. The “plan” can be several dozen pages and includes a comprehensive list of provisions to guide a child’s life throughout the year.

 

E – Equitable Distribution (division of assets and debts)

 

This is the system we use in Florida for figuring out who gets what – and who owes what.  Florida uses a system called equitable distribution as opposed to a community property state. All that means is that we use standard starting points for division and then apply various exceptions to make things “fair”. Of course once we mention the word “fair” we bring in a set of rules and precedents that causes infinite arguments in every divorce, and every court hearing. The property division section of the divorce laws provide starting points and general rules.

 

A – Alimony

 

All the different forms of alimony are considered if a divorce case supports an alimony claim.  Some different types are permanent periodic, durational, bridge the gap, and rehabilitative alimony. The issue of alimony has been heavily contested in the courts, and battled over by lawmakers in Tallahassee. Nothing is more emotional than the subject of alimony. The statutes and previous cases have a lot of guidance for alimony, but there are so many gray areas the fights will continue for the foreseeable future.

 

C – Child Support

 

Child support is next in line because alimony may reduce or increase the amount of income a parent has available. The incomes used to calculate child support are net income plus or minus alimony. There have been many changes in child support law and that trent should continue in the future.

 

E – Everything else (all remaining issues, including attorney fees)

 

There are always lots of other issues connected with a Florida divorce case. One really big, contentious issue is entitlement to attorney fees. In a Florida divorce case the judge has jurisdiction over many different issues and the ability to impose an all encompassing solution. The term “everything else” is really deceptive because this category can be bigger than everything else combined.



The steps to a divorce are pretty much the same in every family law court throughout Florida. Most of the common steps are laid out in statute. But each particular jurisdiction and each family law judge institute slight variations. The variations in divorce case procedure are commonly intended to increase efficiency. One common example is the Case Management Conference (CMC). CMCs are used in some jurisdictions to allow the judge to “nudge” the case forward if it is stuck. They take the form of short, 15 minute hearings to allow the judge a look into the case. But CMCs are not used by all family law courts.

Divorce law is initially spelled out in Florida Statute 61. But the various situations encountered in family law court are too numerous for the statutes to cover. That is why we have a system in Florida called common law. That is a system where years of court decisions slowly fill in the gaps unaddressed by the divorce statutes. What that means is that attorneys must research case law before hearings to see what previous decisions have established.

The divorce laws of Florida set out a complex web of rules, exceptions, and precedents. Our attorneys fight for clients every day of the year and have built up an extensive knowledge on the various aspects of Florida divorce. We welcome everyone to call or fill out the web form to request a free consultation.


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Cheri was referred to me by another local attorney who was not taking any more clients. I couldn’t be happier to have had her represent me during my case. She is very professional and kind. I had another attorney who was great but I dealt with his assistant most of the time. With Cheri I could always go to her directly if I needed to. She is busy too of course but always found time to answer questions for me and calm my nerves. She gave me all of my options from the least costly to other options that may cost more but are worth it. I am glad I took her advice. In the hearing with the judge she was very professional and had my whole case together. She handled herself very well and made the opposing counsel look like a college student. She knows her stuff! Very knowledgable, professional, caring and dependable. I’d highly recommend her!

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Strategy session with Cheri Hobbs

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  • Toucan717

    I know the divorce process from start to finish can take time. Its been nearly 6 weeks sincce I last heard from my attorney. The last interaction I had was after I submitted my full disclosure documents. I just want to know where I stand in the process, but I am getting no response from email or calls. Should I be wooried? or should I just wait and I will be contacted when thre is something to tell. i believe the next step is mediation, but I am only guessing at this point. Help, please.

    • HowardIken

      If the next step is mediation, there is nothing to be worried about. Mediation typically takes some time to arrange. You should get an answer to your calls. If that is important to you, call the managing attorney at the firm – if there is one.

  • Dad

    My Ex and I orig. agreed on a middle school. My Ex filled out the open enrollment papers, and they denied her bc her address is not in that district. Now that it is time to send her there, she is changing her mind bc she does not want to use my address, which is in that district. I want to send my daughter to the same school as her step sister. We have 50/50 shared care and the decree does not state a primary residence. What are my chances of getting her in the same school as her step sister? Having kids in different schools is a hardship

    • HowardIken

      You have an excellent chance – as long as you properly present your case. It would be a good thing if you have any communications discussing the agreement. Text or emails will do. If the kids are close, that is always a factor. The language of your judgment and your past pattern are important. If you are in one of our areas we offer a free consult.

      • Dad

        Thank you. I believe the question regarding school was asked in a previous court hearing. It may be on record. other than that it was verbal. She will not do any agreeing on text/paper/email. So that she can comeback and say ‘no” I did not agree to that. The language in the decree is very very simple. Just states we have to agree on schooling. The school has an online system that they use for registration and since her name has been first for the last years, they are going off that as the “primary” address to send her to school in “that” district. Even though our decree does not state that either of us have primary, so its a battle with the district too.

  • Ilene Stevens

    I was married in Arizona and have been living in Florida for 2 1/2 years. We have been married 5 years and my husband moved us to two different states due to his employment. He has been mentally abusive to myself and my son and an alcoholic. I make 1/4 of what he makes and he has shut me off from the bank account and refuses to pay any of the bills or buy food. I have been spending my entire paycheck paying but can’t afford to pay the rent . He offers no help around the home and eats the food I buy so he can control me with money, Its been almost 4 months that he has done this, He also took me off health insurance and constantly yells at me, I want a divorce and can’t afford it. What are my rights in Florida and can he get away with doing nothing

    • HowardIken

      In a 5 year marriage any alimony claim may be weak. But there is more to it than that, and you should have a private consult with an attorney. There is always child support but payment depends on where the child is living. In any case you should try to develop a way to earn money on your own. Whatever the outcome you will probably need an ability to make money.

  • sonja Kerner

    Am married 22 years my husband walked out on me and my son,at 2005,( my son was 14 in this time) all he paid was child support for my son, I have to pay mortgage and all the other bill we had. I worked to jobs last year I lost my sec. job, now am having a hard time to paying all my bill. I like to refinance to lower my mortgage but I cannot I don’t know where my husband is. What I can do?

    • HowardIken

      You need to go ahead and file for divorce. Within the divorce case it is possible to get his name off the property.

  • eliana godreau

    i want to fire my divorce attorney because my husband and I have agreed to work thing out. but she keeps pushing the proceedings of the divorce. how do I break the contract I have with her?

  • and68

    My wife walked out on me and my two girls (15,17) a year ago (things had been bad for a couple of years) final divorce hearing is a month way. I’d started to see a lady a couple of months ago, wasn’t planning on it, just happened, figured ex had left me, she was the one who filed for divorce, but now found out I’ve had a private investigator following me recently, could this new friendship I’ve made be an issue ? because of all the drama going on with soon to be Ex, I’ve not brought my new friend home or to be around my girls, it’s been just evenings out etc, in fact my daughters don’t know about her. can this make any difference on the final custody agreement, in fact as of now my daughters don’t even want to be around mom, I make (ask them to go, but they only stay a little while before driving them selves home to me)

    • HowardIken

      As long as you have not done anything inappropriate around the girls you are OK.

  • lilme

    my wife left me when I came down with cancer, she served me with divorce papers in april and now wants 2 years back chils sipport that is when i got my cancer 2 yrs ago. I am waiting on disability, I have no income. I need a Lawyer but don’t have that much money…. any ideas

  • HowardIken

    All you need to do is communicate that she is terminated. It could be by email or letter.

  • angela messer hetzel

    My name is Angela messer, am need to do a divorce paper work but don’t nohow to go about it. It Ben 5 years now that we don’t live together. We have 4 kids together 2 live with him n 2 live with me. We don’t have any home or car.
    -

  • bre

    Hello my name is Bre and I married in the Feb 1993 and spouse abandoned my 2 children and self in Nov. of 1999. he never paid anything. he received a huge settlement and gave us nothing. now he’s about to receive disability. i’m in the state of florida what all would i be entitled to. also he owns land

    • HowardIken

      You are definitely entitled to child support. The rest depends on a lot of specific facts.

  • denise

    I moved to florida 7 months ago from south caroline. my husband is still in south Carolina. I left because of physical and verbal abuse. he broke 2 bones in my foot. I would like to know how do I get a divorce in florida while he is living in our home in south Carolina?

    • HowardIken

      You are best off filing in SC if you want a share of that home.

  • Glenda

    Fiance’ recently found out he is still legally married after 28 years. He thought he was divorced, will he have to pay alimony to his soon to be ex-wife? (he is on disability). He would like to do a no-contest divorce; as she resides in California.

    • HowardIken

      I cannot advise on California law.

  • Pam Drake Smith

    I have told my husband of 20 years that I want a divorce and I want him to move out of the house. He refuses to leave. We have been married for 19 years have 4 children, 2 under 18. My parent’s own our home, so I can not leave. Is there any way to get him out of the house? There has been domestic violence in the past, but nothing physical lately.

    • HowardIken

      If he threatens you then an injunction filing will remove him. Otherwise there is no practical way, short of a judge’s order. You must file for divorce and seek an order at the appropriate time.

  • lost

    Ive been married almost 7 years. We have been living separately for 6 months. We have no children, no assets or debts together in fact i let her take everything material with her when we moved out and apart from one another. I am ready to move on but she does not want to divorce. What can I do, and how much money should I plan on paying for this?

    • HowardIken

      Either spouse has the absolute right to divorce in the State of Florida. Her consent or lack of consent does not matter. On cost – we offer free, no consultations.

  • Dilma

    Hello, I’m been separate since june 2005, I had a domestic violence case, I the time of the court I was very confiude with everything and I didn’t asked for the divorce because I husband told me not to do it in that time he’ll be in legal problems bla, bla, bla, I asked for the protection order and since that been separtate, I want to divorce know our daughters are 18 and 22 now, I never recived child support from him, even though we agree in court about mounthly amounth that I never recived from him, I want the divorce now but he leave in MD, what can I do? and how much a divorce cost in Florida? Thank you….

    • HowardIken

      We give free consultations and discuss costs at those meetings. Even if he moved you can still file for divorce where you live.

  • Luisa

    I have been married 11 years. My husband started a business a few years before we were married. All during our marriage, we have put the profit/loss on our joint tax return, thus, I reap the benefits or in most cases, I share in paying the additional taxes owed due to the profit of his business. Even though I am not part owner of this company, am I entitled to any portion of it upon divorce?

    • HowardIken

      Yes. Chances are there is some part of the business that will be considered marital ( and subject to division). This is not a simple area of Florida divorce law – property division. You will benefit from an attorney on this issue.

  • frank flores

    I’ve been married for 17 years, I file for divorce last June and I have done all the steps I needed to do that I know of. but my wife answer the petition but that’s it. she has not done her parenting class and she doesn’t want this to go thru as fast as possible also I did not get any paper work that she filed her response. We have two daughters together and she uses them against me she wont let me see them unless I do whatever she asks me for. isn’t there anything I can do to speed up the process or at least make her do what she needs to do to get this divorce going

    • HowardIken

      I realize you probably don’t want to hear this – but get an attorney. You are trying to do something complex without professional help.

      • frank

        well thanks I understand you are probably right and I wish I could afford one, well thanks anyways for the advice

        • HowardIken

          I do not pretend to know your situation. But most people can afford an attorney to sit down with them, review documents, and devise a strategy.

  • CC

    Hi. I got married on 9/10/1988. We separated in 1997 but the state of Florida has no legal separation status.Our final divorce papers were signed in 9/2000. Does that mean we were legally married till the final decree was issued?

    • HowardIken

      Yes.

  • SL

    my husband and I separated. I filed for divorce since he moved to another state. we own a home in florida which he is renting out and using that to pay mortgage (I could not afford to pay the amt) I can not serve him papers – do not have a address where he is living. How do I proceed. We had alot of debt, little assets (house under water), I want him to pay me for some of the debt he helped accum in my name, how do I get the courts to award me anything if he doesnt tell me his address

    • HowardIken

      You must use a background check service to find his address. Where there is significant assets or debt – it is important to get personal service.

      • sl

        little assets in savings, most is in TSP acct. which he took a loan out without my signature and they wont do anything about it. Debts are c/c and previous tsp loans and LOC. tried processor server and they told me couldnt help unless i knew address – dont have alot of extra money to spend alot on lawyers and investagations, have to save it for when i really need it for my home or to finalize divorce – any suggestions

  • Sunshine

    I have been married 35 yrs.and I wont a Divorce he abuses me and he is a Pastor I am disable now will I get the Home and Alimony.

    • HowardIken

      There is way too little info in your post to answer those questions. But in general, in a 35 year marriage, a claim for alimony may be strong.

  • Artis

    Now that I have filed for a divorce, will my existing spouse be able to claim married but separated on her income tax next year?

    • HowardIken

      Normally, yes.

  • linda

    My divorce was final January 30,2013. My ex had 13 months from the date to refinance the house in his name only or the house is to go up for sale on a fair market value. I can’t buy a home until this is settled. What are my next steps?

    • HowardIken

      You must file a motion to enforce under your original case number and schedule a short hearing.

  • seashell

    I want a divorce after 26 years of marriage, but my husband continues to remind me , that I have lung cancer and without him I would have NO money and NO health insurance. He has worked the same job for 24 years and receives a little over $2700. Bi- weekly. He has also stated that I can not use my visa for the divorce,.when it is in my name only. Please tell me what my chances of getting alimony? If I divorce him will I still be able to collect on his S.S. I have applied for disability.

    • HowardIken

      In a 26 year marriage the right to alimony is most likely strong.

  • sleeper

    my soon to be ex, has never answer the interrogatories. there has been no mandatory disclosure. yet the judge during a contempt for him to answer the interrogatories, denied it. This has been going on since 10/2014. my ex also is trying to get my mobile from me and my brother. The title is in our names. He allowed the mobile home to depreciate, and it’s worth, went from 45,000 to 8,000 due to neglect of household repair. also he took 7,000 of my money to hold onto for a car, and he spent it without my knowledge or consent. I work part-time, I am trying to get a lawyer in florida that would be pro-bono, or make payments that I could afford. I only make 600.00-700.00 a month.

    • HowardIken

      You should try to apply for help from the local legal aid agency. Court procedure can be complex – as you are finding out.

  • JP

    I am currently married but I am filing for divorce in FL. My future ex is currently in SC. He stated that due to me moving back to fl 6 months ago with our son that if he files for divirce in SC i will be arrested for kidnapping my child by moving 2 states away. he has history of domestic violence and now he said he has change after probation and counseling. My question is: Can I file for divorce my self in fl due to how expensive it is to hire an attorney and 2 do I nd a restraining order so idon’t lose my kids?

    • HowardIken

      You can always file your own case and act as your own attorney. You cannot be arrested for kidnapping by moving with your own children.

  • mr

    My wife and I have been separated for 4 years married for 18 from the date I filed for a divorce. I was giving her 1600 a month, most times this was more than half my pay to help her and child support. I finally filed for divorce and hired an atty. Upon my atty’s advice, at the beginning of 2014, I decreased the support to 1,000 a month. We have 2 children. The ex is working full time and is making almost as much as me. My gross monthly income is roughly 3300.00 and her gross is 3200. There are times that I make more when I am away for work. During mediation, she requested 1600 plus state guidelines child support for 10 years, I offered 850 for 8 years and after going back and forth I finally offered 1000 for 9 years non-modifiable and includes child support. She accepted but I feel I’m still offering her too much money. My concern about taking this to court to settle is the possibility of having to pay her permanent support. I am seeking a second opinion.

    • HowardIken

      I believe I answered this on another page.

  • Bisky

    I read on your website that the date of service counts as day one if it occurs before 6 p.m. However, my lawyer is saying that the date of service does not count as the first day. Do you have a statute I could reference? Also, if my spouse files his response on the 21st day will it make a difference anyway?

    • HowardIken

      As you are probably aware, one day probably will not make a difference.

  • Desperate

    Hello,
    I am representing myself in my divorce. This is not by choice but I can’t afford an attorney and the judge would not order my husband to pay my attorney’s fees even though he has received over $150,000 is worker’s comp, disability settlements and took all of the money from the marriage when he left. I am trying to represent myself the best I can. During mediation I asked for 1/2 of his retirement from the State of Florida. He served 25 years as a trooper. I received a copy of a letter written to him from the Assistant State Attorney informing him that FRS Disability benefit was determined to be a non-marital assset according Florida courts and that I am not entitled to any benefits. The letter reference Fla Satutes 121. I read this statute but I could not find anything that supports what the attorney is saying. I did find a copy of a ruling from the Appellate court stating that a spouse is entiltled to 1/2 FRS Disability Benefits as equitable alimony even though it may be determined a non-marital asset. Can you please help me understand what the attorney for the State and the Appellate court are saying?

    • HowardIken

      I am not sure what input or position a state attorney would have in a family law case. I think you are mis-interpreting what you are seeing. A retirement earned during a marriage is marital property in Florida – period.

  • Emotionally abused

    Can a minor at a certain age, in the state of Florida, inform the court of which parent he prefers to live with?

    • HowardIken

      Not automatically. But certain judges will interview minors. It is highly dependent on the judge. In any case, the opinion of a child is an “input” – not a deciding factor

  • Anna Gimm

    My ex & I went to court in 2009, the courts awarded him primary residence. For the past 4 years he has been keeping our son from me, I filed in December for emergency child pick-up and contempt. Since then his lawyer (Me being pro-se) has informed the judge he has filed a modification of the final judgment, but it wan never filed through the courts, so i filed my own in April, he filed a dafault judgment on me and it was granted and now is motioning the judge to dismiss my motion to modify the final judgment… I filed today a motion to dismiss his on grounds it was never filed through the courts. I have three upcoming court dates… June 26th for Contempt/enforcement, July 11th for motion to set aside dafault or default judgment and August 7th for another contempt/enforement for him bringing our son out of state without permission along with a motion for temporary relief… I’m so jumbled and I’m trying to do this correctly. What happens to my modification that was filed shortly after I found out he didn’t file through the courts but only had me served, yet he was awarded a default judgment on said petition…?
    Within my motion for modification I responded to the lies entered in his modification along with other provisions.

    • HowardIken

      This is way too involved for a quick Q & A forum. Most people can afford one hour with an attorney – to read all your documents, review the court docket, and give appropriate advice. That is what you really need.

      • Anna Gimm

        I can’t, I make $260 power month… I’ve tried to get a lawyer, free lawyer, low cost lawyer… No one will talk to me… Thanks anyway, have a great day!

  • Michele Ramirez

    Me and my husband have been separated for 2yrs and are finally getting a divorce. All 3 kids live with me. What are the chances of me keeping my house? I’m listed as the co-borrower even though I was the primary at first. I work and can afford the house I just want my home, do you think I’ll be able to keep it after the divorce is final?

    • HowardIken

      You would certainly have preference to keep the house since that is the long-term home for the children. But if there is equity, you must find a way to cash out his half.

      • Michele Ramirez

        Thanks for replying so quickly. How much do you charge for divorce? How much down is needed to start?

        • HowardIken

          We give free initial consultations with an attorney. We can discuss money at that meeting.

  • Sylvia Cabrales

    I received a Petition for Divorce from Texas from my ex husband. The letter states that I have to answer a written form back within 20 days. Can I use the form that the Florida courthouse self center gave me to file a written answer? Also, I have a concern with the Petition sent to me by my ex because it states that “Petitioner has the exlcusive right to decide where the children primary residence should be” and I don’t agree with it being that my children have not seen him since 2005. Thank you in advance for your quick response!

    • HowardIken

      We normally do not advise on form selection. But in your case I can point out the obvious: you should not use a Florida self-help form to answer a petition from Texas. There are specific requirements in each state. Search the Texas court system to see if they have self help forms. Also, just because a petition requests something – does not mean they get it.

  • Nicoled

    I just recently left my husband due to him having a drug problem we have 2 children together I have tried to be civil and allow him to see the kids every Monday Wednesday and every other weekend. This however is not working I’m staying with my parents till I can find my own place as he had drained me of all my money due to his problem. But he is constantly calling me, my parents house phone late at night and making threats. I’m not sure what to do he shows up when he wants makes me give him money when he picks up and drops kids off so that he won’t cause problems I’m lost and not sure what is considered stalking/ harrasing since we are married still .

    • HowardIken

      Even though you are married you can file for an injunction against stalking. That is a new type of injunction that became available last year. It sounds like you need a divorce.

  • kathryn oley

    I have been seperated for 3 yes from my ex. We currently just went to court and judge order a hair follicle test. Next court date is in Aug. He was constantly picking up and dropping g off high. We share 50/50 legal and physical. Can I ask judge if me and my daughter are allowed to move out of state?

    • HowardIken

      You must file a proper relocation petition. Sounds like you are off to a good start getting permission to relocate.

  • L yaco

    My wife and I met and got married in Thailand. Our son (now 5) was born there also. He was born profoundly deaf he has duel cochlear implants. We came back to America to get his surgery done. My wife has legal residents in the US. About the years ago my wife got a taste of ameeica and started to cheat on me, got pregnant and has had two abortions that I paid for! I figured it was time for a divorce. I have tried to keep it together for my son. But, it has Gorton out of control. ( ie: going out all night drinking and partying.) I pay all the bills she does work but does not contribute to the home. I also take care of all the medical/business and what ever comes up in daily life. My wife can not read nor right english very well being that she is from Thailand. I was wondering if this would help me get custody of my son.
    Thank you for your help.
    Larry

    • HowardIken

      If you can document and prove her lifestyle, that would be a huge factor in a parenting case.

  • joanna

    i have shared custody with my ex husband i can longer afford to live in the state of florida,if i was to leave the state of fl an leave my son with his father an i would have him for school vacation days an school holidays would i loose my part of the shared custody an what paper would i need to file cause i was just gonna type up a letter saying how we came to an agreement that ill have him on school vacation days an school holidays i was just gonna get it notarize ty for ur help

    • HowardIken

      That would be risky. It is always best to properly modify the existing parenting order. If you just have a signed paper – you are on shaky ground for the future.

  • dave c

    i was married for 12 years and my wife developed ms before the divorce..The divorce decree states i am to pay her 250 a month and 900 for my 2 boys. One of my boys will be 18 this year and will cut my support in half. My question is ….can my x use that cs money to increase her alimoney. An attorney that spoke to my new wife said the divorce decree shoulda stated that but it doesnt and she already knew of her illness prior to the divorce. Would that be correct Mr. Iken. Thank you.

    • HowardIken

      Yes. Termination of CS can be used as a reason to modify alimony.

  • Angel

    My husband went on vacation & when he got home NEVER called nothing.I would call to ask how much longer it was going to be, the reply was he was @ market be back later. He stay’ed with his family across town, went back to work & after a week packed his things & left. When I asked him to help with the lawyer bills he said F U. My lawyer wants alimony since its been now almost 18 yrs. How long will it take to go to court, since hes been gone almost 2 yrs now

    • HowardIken

      Sorry but there is not enough info here to answer your question. I think you mean “going to trial” ?? That depends on where the court is. But in general, it could take up to a year to get to trial. Be sure to read our article on divorce steps in Florida http://www.18884mydivorce.com/florida-divorce-steps/

      • Angel

        My lawyer keeps telling me they can not get the courts & his lawyer @ same time on the phone. I feel they are not doing their job correct, since they said they would be calling to go to court & Im still waiting for the phone call I was to get over 2 weeks ago telling me whats going on.

        • HowardIken

          Not really sure what that could possibly mean – getting everyone on the phone at the same time.

  • maria

    I tried to modify a parenting plan from 2007 my daughter was 3 yrs old. We went to mediation twice with no agreement. We went to trial and the judge states there is no substancial changes that can make him agree to modify the parenting plan. I want to be able to spend more time with my daughter she is now 10 and the old parenting plan does not give me that much time with her.now I have a son and her mom moved within the 50 miles. And she does not wants to give me more time.what can I do

    • HowardIken

      You needed to properly evaluate the situation and put the correct legal justification in your Supplemental Petition. It sounds like you did not do that. There is nothing to do at this moment. You may try again in the future but you may want to hire competent legal help.

      • maria

        Is there anything that can be done if she doesn’t let me see her more than what is establish in the prior order? We went to mediation twice how can I get more time? The order states that I have liberal time share. I pay my childsupport plus insurance. This is so frustating can I amend it? And try it again?

        • HowardIken

          The is normally addressed in a Motion for Contempt

  • Mary

    What can I do if my attorney and opposing counsel have not presented my case in front of a judge after eight months when it seems that all they try to do is settle out of court when my spouse does not agree to anything offered for our dissolution?

    • HowardIken

      I do not mean to be “smart” with this answer but the solution is obvious …. Get a new attorney.

  • John

    Situation: In order to get to an equitable distribution, my wife and I signed a mediation agreement 2 years ago that had her getting $200K of my $400K 401K. But due to outstanding items we’ve never gotten to the final judgment or signed a QDRO. If the settlement agreement reference to the QDRO said: “If
    the valuation date is before the liquidation date, the amount assigned to the
    Alternate Payee shall be adjusted for earnings, gains and losses from the
    valuation date to the liquidation date.” does the adjustment for increases mean from the date of the division/settlement, the date the QDRO is signed or does the liquidation date here mean the date my wife actually starts taking money out of the 401K? The reason for my question is that My 401K has increase to $550K, do I get to keep the growth and she still gets the $200 or given the adjustment of gains does she get access to my increases even after the settlement date since we never signed a QDRO?

    • HowardIken

      There is too much money at stake here. Sorry, but I would not be able to answer without a complete reading of all the documents.

  • Kim

    My ex and I have joint custody with our 13 year old daughter, my ex had to sign a paper stating that I could move to Alabama after the divorce. My daughter has lived with me for 6 years now but she is wanting to return to her father and go to school in Florida where the education is better. What can I do not to loose her to him if she decides to come back to Alabama?

    • HowardIken

      If you did not do so already, you must get a court order recognizing the relocation. You need to file for modification of the prior judgment.

  • Joyce

    Married 14 years, separated since 11/2013; officially moved into my own apartment 5/2014 (i was raped). We have two children (10 and 12); we own a home. I’m currently paying $425 bi-weekly into his account, we share responsibility for our kids, with them staying with me every Sat-Sun (every other Fri) and one night during the week. He works part-time and his employer pays 100% health insurance; I pay dental/vision. We have only the home as joint debt; and we have an annuity (in his name). When I file for divorce, I don’t want anything from the home (we built it 4 years ago) I just want my name off of it, I don’t mind paying support for our children (I’m paying just about $40 under the amount the calculator says I should be paying in child support), and I want 1/2 of the annuity. He is totally capable of working more, has turned down 3 jobs making more than me over the years, presently makes about 1/2 of what I make; I don’t want to have to pay this man alimony…is there any way to prevent that, knowing that Florida is a “no-fault” state?

    • HowardIken

      This really depends on the actual income both of you earn, his proven need for alimony, and her ability to pay. Alimony is not a lock in a 14 year marriage. But if alimony is at stake, you definitely do not want to go without an attorney.

      • Joyce

        Thank you. She makes $3200/month; he around $1700/month. Proven need?

        • HowardIken

          I don’t think so.

  • Robin

    My husband was granted temp custody of our 2 girls (6 & 11 (adopted by him in 2008-we separated in 2009 and have been primary parent) and supervised visitation until completion of substance abuse and mental health eval complete after he blindsided be with crazy allegations. I completed both with no issues. It has been almost 3 months now since I have seen my children. Immediately after the hearing, he sent my oldest to live with my mother and the girls have not even seen each other. He now has them enrolled in 2 separate schools, 2 counties. Can he do this? Is there any thing I can do to expedite a hearing? It doesn’t even look like I can get a hearing date for another month and a half. Thanks :(

    • HowardIken

      Believe it or not, 1.5 months for a hearing is really quick. This does not sound like an emergency so you may not want to file for emergency relief. But then again every judge looks at facts differently. I would take the next month to develop an extremely strong case for the hearing.

  • Gloria

    we were married in NY and have been living in Florida for 5 years. we have been married for 15 years, we purchased a house in cash,about 4 years ago and decided to appear only my husband name in the title even when a provide my half for the purchase, we work in the same job making the same amount, my still husband refuse to move out of the house or put the house for sale,our credit is damaged so not me or him can buy the other half, what should I do at this point ,i haven’t started the divorce.

    • HowardIken

      The house is marital property and subject to division – regardless of the name on the deed. The only exception is if a large amount of money that existed prior to 15 years ago was used to pay off the house. In a divorce proceeding, the court would most likely order a sale of the home with an equal division of proceeds.

  • Gloria

    sorry and we have no chindren, is only the house dispute at this time., .thank you for your help

  • a1

    is a custodial parent required to send clothes with the child for visitation?

    • HowardIken

      Not by statute. This depends on the situation. There is no clear answer.

  • pipster

    His attorney filed contested divorce. Husband said he wants nothing but not to pay child support. The child is 17 and half. Attorney did not let him sign the marital agreement and parental plan I completed, said the judge will not approve no child support that is in the parental plan, I earn more than him and do not need child support. His attorney said I will loose my house purchased by myself alone, 9 years prior to marriage if I do not sign the waiver of mandatory disclosure. Husband never made any payments to the house after marriage. His attorney wants to put language of child support against my retirement or against the house.My husband keeps saying he does not want nothing. I do not have an attorney and do not know what is behind the paper he wants me to sign. We have nothing else,not even a savings I live in the house with the teenager, He left the day I got news I had cancer and one week before his son 17 birthday and did not even call him or has talked to him since then. I do not want to fight but I do not know what is behind signing the waiver of mandatory disclosure and do not understand the process.

    • HowardIken

      If the child is 17 and a half – I disagree on the child support issue. Most judges will allow a no support deal for a child that age. Sounds like your husband has no control over his attorney. You should have an attorney. Even if it is only for some advice.

    • pipster

      Thank you so very much !!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thank you, thank you for taking the time and having this web site !

  • timothy Facer

    The court put in an order that i have my kids for one week adn my ex has the kids for one week. Four years later my ex started keeping the kids from me. The judge ordered a parenting coordinator for our case. He changed our custody agreement because she has moved the kids around so much that they have been in 14 elem schools. The coordinator changed it to have the kids go to schoool with me but because she doesnt work she cant get the kids back and forth to school she says. I also pay child support so he changed the schedule to give her all weekends and me half of the school week. Because i work and am off on the weekend i only see my kids when i get them up for school in the mornings. How can i contest the coordinators orders.

    • HowardIken

      You can always contest a parenting coordinator. The problem you face is that many judges places a lot of importance on what the parenting coordinator says. You will need an attorney, and possibly a psychological professional.

  • Anonymous

    I have been married to my husband for 30 years. He became disabled (permanently) in 2008 but had not worked for a few years before that so he did not have enough quarters to qualify for regular Social Security disability. They awarded him Disability but it was SSI. During all the economic fiasco I lost my pension so I will be working forever. Now because I make approx 1000.00 too much per year he has lost his medical insurance thru FL medicaid. He has a bad heart and a genetic disease that is eating away at all his vital organs. His medical expenses are expensive and unfortunately I cannot afford to buy health insurance as we are on a super tight budget. He receives no monetary income although I believe he should. The only thing I can come up with is to divorce him so he can have his medical back. I do not mind caring for him. That is not the case. If we divorce could he remain in our home(we rent) and could I sublet him a room? Would my income still be used against him as household income? Thanks.

    • HowardIken

      I do see a number of “strategic divorces”, just for this purpose. I am not a social security attorney so I cannot answer the ultimate question.

  • Lisa

    My daughter in law just delivered my granddaughter 8/18/14. She came home and was depressed suicidal, my son had her arested to get her to hospital and get some help. She got medication to help her……she came home. My son and her also have a 4 yo boy, she has a 6 yo daughter also from pervious relationship. My son went to work friday 9/5 and came home at lunchtime and the house was cleared of belongings and no children no notes, they live in Florida and we THINK she is in Vermont

    • lisa

      what can we legally do?

      • HowardIken

        Time to get a divorce filed, and an emergency motion filed – asap.

  • pipster

    his attorney said they both agree with the marital agreement but not the parental planning because reads no child support needed for the 17 and half year old. They said they will not sign anything until I sign the waiver of mandatory disclosure and waiver of section 61.19 20 day rule. Then they will sign the marital agreement and the parenting plan. Is this how it goes? Is it safe to sign this?

    • HowardIken

      I cannot advise whether to sign a document unless we have been retained.

  • troubled

    my child lives in florida with my parents while i am in rehab, the child’s father lives out of state in and out of drug facilities, can i file for divorce through my rehab center in florida?

    • HowardIken

      Now is not the best time to file a new case. I suggest you wait till you are out of rehab.

  • Marko

    Dear sirs,

    My name is Marko Ramovic and I’m writing from Serbia.

    In December 2011 I got married to an American citizen in Florida Tampa. After some time I had to go back to Serbia that I would not exceed the duration of the visa. In the meantime, distance and time have cooled our relationship.

    Since I decided to get a divorce, I tried to make contact with my wife but never got a response. Please give me advice or information, what procedure to run in order to get a divorce , given that a delicate matter because I’m a foreign citizen.

    We do not have children together, or any property so I guess that’s a mitigating circumstance.

    I look forward to your reply

    Greetings

    • HowardIken

      Because you have no children and no joint property – you may be able to file for divorce in your country. You should first see a local attorney to check on local requirements.

  • fourdemocracy

    Someone was supposed to call me but i have not heard yet. I wanted advice on a mediation and fraud, lies on financial papers, etc. What time period do I have to file a modification of a final judgement regarding alimony, or dissolution, etc? My mediation was Oct. 29, 2013. The final papers were signed by Judge Jonathan D Ohlman of the 5th Circuit Court of Marion County, FL on Nov. 19, 2013.

    • HowardIken

      Most alimony judgments are subject to modification at any time. There are some exceptions. There is no deadline to file a Supplemental Petition to Modify Alimony.

  • Erin Cherisma Iswi Stokes

    Is it mandatory the both parties attend a Case Management Conference/