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  • Writer's pictureJeffrey D. Harper, MBA, Esq.

Navigating Family Law in Florida: Your Guide to Protecting What Matters Most


Family law matters can be emotionally charged and complex, requiring delicate handling and specialized expertise. Whether you're going through a divorce, seeking child custody, or facing other family-related legal challenges, understanding the intricacies of family law in Florida is crucial. In this blog post, we'll provide you with a comprehensive overview of family law in the Sunshine State, empowering you to make informed decisions and protect what matters most – your family.


Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage

Florida follows a "no-fault" divorce system, meaning that you don't have to prove fault or marital misconduct to obtain a divorce. Either spouse can file for divorce based on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. However, it's important to note that certain legal requirements, such as residency and waiting periods, must be met before initiating divorce proceedings. Collaborative divorce and mediation are alternative dispute resolution methods that can help couples reach amicable settlements outside the courtroom.


Child Custody and Visitation

When it comes to child custody and visitation, Florida prioritizes the "best interests of the child." The state recognizes two types of custody: physical custody (time-sharing) and legal custody (decision-making authority). In determining custody arrangements, the court considers factors such as the child's well-being, each parent's ability to provide a stable environment, and the child's existing relationship with each parent. It's worth noting that Florida encourages parents to establish a parenting plan that outlines important aspects of custody, visitation, and parental responsibilities.


Note that as of July 1, 2023, Gov. DeSantis signed signed HB 1301 into law regarding child custody that creates a rebuttable presumption that equal (50/50) timesharing is in the best interest of the child.

Child Support

Ensuring the financial well-being of children is of paramount importance in Florida. Child support is calculated using specific guidelines that take into account factors such as the parents' incomes, healthcare expenses, and child-related expenses. While these guidelines provide a framework, it's important to work with an experienced family law attorney who can help navigate the complexities and ensure a fair and equitable child support arrangement.


Alimony and Spousal Support

Florida recognizes several types of spousal support, including temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, and durational. The court considers factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse's financial resources, contributions to the marriage, and the standard of living established during the marriage when determining alimony. It's essential to seek legal counsel to understand the various forms of alimony and their applicability to your specific situation.


Note that as of July 1, 2023, Gov. DeSantis signed SB1416 into law which, among other changes, eliminates permanent alimony in Florida divorce proceedings.

Property Division

Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital assets and liabilities are divided fairly, though not necessarily equally, between the spouses. The court considers factors such as each spouse's financial circumstances, contributions to the marriage, and the duration of the marriage when dividing property. It's important to note that only marital assets and debts are subject to division, while separate property remains with the original owner.


Family law matters require careful consideration and guidance to protect your family's rights and interests. Whether you're going through a divorce, seeking child custody, or facing any other family-related legal challenge in Florida, consulting with an experienced family law attorney is crucial. They can provide the personalized guidance you need, help you navigate the complexities of the legal system, and advocate for your rights throughout the process. Remember, with the right support, you can achieve a positive outcome and move forward with confidence.


If you require legal assistance or have any questions regarding family law matters, please don't hesitate to contact our law firm. We are dedicated to providing compassionate and knowledgeable representation to help you navigate the complexities of family law in Florida.


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