A: Every matter is different, the way each family is unique, and therefore there is no way to know how long a particular matter will take. The Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure set out certain requirements and time constraints which many times, can drive the manner in which a case is handled. For example, a party has 20 days to respond to a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage once that party has been served. More importantly though, a case can move quicker or slower depending on the parties themselves, as well as their attorneys and how the case is handled. More contested cases tend to take a longer time to resolve, while cases with less issues, or less litigation, can be resolved much quicker.
A: Legal separation is not recognized in Florida. While couples may choose to separate and may even have a separation agreement, which can be enforceable, a party cannot file a legal action for separation.
A: A Parenting Plan is a legal document, in the form of an agreement between parents to address children’s issues. A Parenting Plan is required to be filed with the court in cases of dissolution of marriage when minor children are involved.
A: Yes. Alimony is based on one party’s need for alimony, and the other party’s ability to pay. The Florida alimony statute provides guidelines to classify different terms of marriage; either short, moderate, or long term. There are various forms of alimony that exists, and some may be more appropriate than others depending on the length of the marriage. But for alimony to be considered, there must first be a showing of need and ability.
A: It is a common misconception that a father to child born out of wedlock (not during a marriage) has legal rights to the child. However, under Florida law, when a child is born not during a marriage and there is no legal establishment of paternity and paternal rights by the court, the mother is seen as the only natural legal guardian of the child. This is true even if a father is named on the child’s birth certificate. Therefore, in order for a father to have legal rights, decision-making and timeshare with a child, there must be a court order, giving the father such rights.