321-DIVORCE

Offices Orlando | Lake Mary by Appointment

Divorce Information Center

Divorce Information Center

Approximately 70% of divorced men and 60% of divorced women remarry whether or not they have children, and most do so within five years

ORLANDO, FLORIDA, DIVORCE, NON-COMMUNITY PROPERTY LAWYERS

If you are a man facing divorce in Florida, it is important to know that Florida is a non-community property state. That is, in Florida all marital assets–from vehicles to pensions–are equitably distributed between divorcing spouses. Orlando, Florida, family law attorney Jeff Feulner aggressively represents the interests of husbands and fathers involved in divorce and other family law matters.

DIVORCE OVERVIEW – THE BASICS

Contemplating divorce is difficult. Whether or not you are sure you want to end your marriage, it helps to learn the basics of divorce law. Should you conclude that divorce is necessary, it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced family law attorney.

A divorce is a judicial decree by which a valid marriage is dissolved. From a legal standpoint, the divorce process will divide the couple’s assets and debts; determine the future care and custody of their children; and give each person the legal right to marry someone else.

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Orlando divorce and family lawyer Jeff Feulner represents men throughout the Orlando, Florida who face divorce and seek legal assistance concerning non-community property issues. Contact Jeff Feulner for an attorney who listens, promptly return your calls, and keeps you an involved and informed participant in your case.

Contemplating divorce is difficult. Whether or not you are sure you want to end your marriage, it helps to learn the basics of divorce law. Should you conclude that divorce is necessary, it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced family law attorney.

GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE

A divorce is a judicial decree by which a valid marriage is dissolved. From a legal standpoint, the divorce process will divide the couple’s assets and debts; determine the future care and custody of their children; and give each person the legal right to marry someone else.

Every state has some form of “no-fault divorce,” but the laws vary a great deal from state to state. Generally, a divorce will be granted if one spouse states that the marriage has irretrievably broken down or the couple has irreconcilable differences. (Other residency and filing requirements must also be met.) This is different from the past, when only “fault divorces” were available. In a fault divorce, one spouse must allege a martial wrong like adultery or abuse in order to receive a divorce.

In some states, both fault and no-fault divorces are available. An experienced family law attorney can help you determine whether and how to pursue divorce.

RESOLVING ISSUES DURING DIVORCE

Before a divorce may be granted, five basic issues typically must be resolved. They are:

  • Alimony/spousal support
  • Property and debt division
  • Child timesharing (Custody)
  • Visitation/parenting time
  • Child support

If the spouses can reach agreement on these issues, then the divorce is uncontested. If, however, the spouses cannot agree, the divorce is contested. The spouses may go to trial to resolve the issues. This usually means that a family court judge will make the final decisions. Alternatives to going to court include mediation, arbitration and collaborative divorce. Some courts may even order the spouses to attempt to resolve their differences through alternative dispute resolution:

  • Mediation. Mediation is an alternative to litigation that can be less expensive and less stressful for divorcing couples and their children. In the mediation process, the couple works with a trained mediator to reach agreement on contested issues.
  • Arbitration. Arbitration is more like court than mediation, but it can still be quicker and less expensive. Instead of using a judge to decide the outcome, the parties agree to use an arbitrator. Each spouse will have a separate attorney who will represent each spouse’s interests.
  • Collaborative Divorce Collaborative law is a relatively new divorce process that requires an up-front commitment to resolving disputes by negotiation, compromise and agreement. If either side decides to go to court, both attorneys are disqualified from representing their clients in the courtroom. The spouses find new attorneys and go to court.

ALIMONY, SPOUSAL SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE

Alimony (also called spousal support or maintenance) is financial support that one spouse pays to another. The alimony can come in a lump sum, over a limited period of time or indefinitely. Because the laws vary from state to state, it is best to consult an attorney with questions about alimony. Factors that the court may consider in determining alimony include the length of the marriage and the ability of each spouse to earn a living.

CONCLUSION

Making the decision to end a marriage is difficult. Even so, it is in your best interest to approach the divorce process from a rational, businesslike perspective. Working with an experienced family law attorney will help you get through the process and begin your new life.

DIVISION OF PROPERTY

When a couple has little or no marital property, no children and no disagreement on spousal maintenance/alimony, their divorce usually goes very quickly. Most couples, however, have numerous issues to work out during the divorce process. These issues may involve children or significant marital property: personal property, real estate, a family business, large or concealed debts, trusts, real property in other states, joint and separate accounts, investments, insurance, pensions and other assets. In any divorce, especially one involving complex property matters, an experienced family attorney can offer valuable guidance and advocacy.

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When a couple has little or no marital property, no children and no disagreement on spousal maintenance/alimony, their divorce usually goes very quickly. Most couples, however, have numerous issues to work out during the divorce process. These issues may involve children or significant marital property: personal property, real estate, a family business, large or concealed debts, trusts, real property in other states, joint and separate accounts, investments, insurance, pensions and other assets. In any divorce, especially one involving complex property matters, an experienced family law attorney can offer valuable guidance and advocacy.

NON-COMMUNITY PROPERTY STATES

Most states are non-community property states. This means that the courts must make an equitable division of property during divorce proceedings. Although the specific definition of equitable division of property varies from state to state, it is generally the division of marital property in a fair and just manner according to the specific circumstances of the divorce/dissolution of marriage. Equitable, however, does not always mean equal.

When one spouse obtains property in a community property state, generally the other spouse automatically gains a half-interest in it. In non-community property states, on the other hand, the other spouse only has an interest in the property upon filing for divorce or upon the death of the other spouse.

Courts in non-community property jurisdictions consider numerous factors in allocating property; the factors vary from state to state. However, the courts agree on a few basic, non-financial factors that are appropriate to consider:

  • Spouse’s homemaking activities, including child care, food preparation, cleaning and laundry
  • Spouse’s forgone opportunities, including not pursuing further education/degrees or a career opportunity
  • Spouse’s social obligations, including hosting or attending social events in support of the other spouse’s career

Prenuptial agreements can go a long way toward shaping the outcome of property distribution decisions.

MARITAL PROPERTY

Property that must be allocated upon divorce is usually property that was acquired during the marriage — in other words, marital property. In most cases, property acquired before the marriage, property acquired after the divorce and gifts or inheritances received by one spouse during the marriage are not considered marital property.

Once the court decides which property is marital property, it must determine the value of the property. Then, it allocates the property between the spouses. If you and your spouse are able to agree upon the allocation of property and other important matters, you will have a far greater influence over the court’s ultimate decision.

Certain kinds of property continue to create controversy during divorce. Divorcing couples should be aware of the issues these assets present.

  • Family Home. The primary residential property owned by the divorcing couple is often the marriage’s largest asset. Dealing with its division can be complicated, particularly when there are children involved. Courts often favor allowing the custodial parent to retain the home. Doing so may require complicated arrangements to ensure that the spouse who does not live in the home receives adequate compensation for the home’s value, as well as provisions for ongoing mortgage payments, tax liabilities and upkeep of the home. When these issues cannot be resolved, the couple may be forced to sell the home and divide the proceeds.
  • Pensions. Pensions often are the second-largest marital asset. A court in a divorce case may enter a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) requiring the administrator of the ERISA-regulated pension to make payments to both the worker and the former spouse.
  • Family-Owned Businesses. When spouses work together in a family-owned business, division of the business presents complex allocation and valuation problems. As with family homes, if there are not enough marital assets to compensate the non-retaining spouse adequately, a forced sale or long-term buyout may be necessary.

CONCLUSION

Many couples have a difficult time reaching an agreement about how to divide their property. Because the rules in each state vary significantly and because the ultimate division of property depends on the complexity of your assets and liabilities, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney for assistance.

QUESTIONS TO ASK DURING DIVORCE

Whether to end your marriage is one of the most important and difficult decisions you will ever encounter. While this is an emotional mater, it is important to approach certain aspects of it with an analytical perspective. This is a decision that should take into account numerous issues. Once you review the following list of questions, you may reconsider your goals — or you may be better prepared to move forward while working with an attorney. Contact an experienced family law attorney to help you along the journey.

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Whether to end your marriage is one of the most important and difficult decisions you will ever encounter. While this is an emotional matter, it is important to approach certain aspects of it with an analytical perspective. This is a decision that should take into account numerous issues. Once you review the following list of questions, you may reconsider your goals — or you may be better prepared to move forward while working with an attorney. Contact an experienced family law attorney to help you along the journey.

CHILDREN

  • Will your children live with you or your former spouse?
  • If the children live with your former spouse, how often do you hope to see them?
  • How will you and your ex-spouse make decisions concerning the children’s health care and education?
  • Who will pay for the children’s living expenses, education and travel?
  • What if your ex-spouse remarries and the stepparent wants to adopt the children?

SUPPORT PAYMENTS

  • What about spousal support and child support? Will you receive it or need to pay it? How much and for how long?
  • Will the spousal support or child support increase or decrease in the future du to changing financial circumstances, economic conditions or other factors?
  • Who will be entitled to claim the children as exemptions for income tax purposes?

YOUR HOME

  • Who will live in the marital home during the divorce process?
  • Will one of the spouses keep the marital home after the divorce, or will it be sold? How will the proceeds be divided?
  • If one party keeps the home, will the other party deed its interest to the first party?
  • If the parties decide to sell the home, will both spouses be involved in the sale and closing? Who will decide the listing price and whether a real estate broker will sell the home?
  • Who will be responsible for major repairs and the costs of preparing the home for sale?
  • Who will be entitled to deduct the mortgage interest charges and property taxes for income tax purposes?
  • Who will be responsible for any income (capital gains) taxes that are imposed as a result of the sale of the home?

INSURANCE

  • Will you keep life insurance for the benefit of your children?
  • Will either party be obligated to provide medical or other insurance for the other? For the children? For how long?
  • Who will be responsible for any medical, dental, prescription or hospital expenses of the children that are not reimbursed by insurance?

INCOME TAXES

  • Who will be entitled to receive any refund from current and past joint income tax returns?
  • If there is a deficiency on any current or past joint income tax returns, who will be responsible for the payment?

DEALING WITH DIVORCE

For some, divorce may feel like a liberating new beginning. For most, however, it is not so straightforward. The end of a relationship as important as a marriage brings numerous difficult emotions. Indeed, recovering from a divorce is similar to the grieving process one experiences when a loved one dies. The process typically consists of five stages: shock and denial; anger; ambivalence; depression; and recovery. Not everyone experiences these emotions in the same way or in the same order. You may move in and out of a phase more than once, even experiencing more than one phase at a time. It is a difficult and time-consuming process. Family counselors advise that it may take as long as one or two years to truly recover.

Understanding the process and the feelings you may experience will help you to grieve the relationship. It is important to allow yourself the time you need to recover from the traumatic experience of ending a marriage so that you can move on to the next phase of your life. An experienced family law attorney can provide invaluable advice and support throughout the divorce process.

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For some, divorce may feel like a liberating new beginning. For most, however, it is not so straightforward. The end of a relationship as important as a marriage brings numerous difficult emotions. Indeed, recovering from a divorce is similar to the grieving process one experiences when a loved one dies. The process typically consists of five stages: shock and denial; anger; ambivalence; depression; and recovery. Not everyone experiences these emotions in the same way or in the same order. You may move in and out of a phase more than once, even experiencing more than one phase at a time. It is a difficult and time-consuming process. Family counselors advise that it may take as long as one or two years to truly recover.

Understanding the process and the feelings you may experience will help you to grieve the relationship. It is important to allow yourself the time you need to recover from the traumatic experience of ending a marriage so that you can move on to the next phase of your life. An experienced family law attorney can provide invaluable advice and support throughout the divorce process.

SHOCK AND DENIAL

When it finally becomes clear — through legal action or other confirmation — that your marriage is ending, you may experience shock and denial. The enormity of what is happening may seem like more than you can bear, and the upcoming changes may create feelings of anxiety and panic. A typical way to deal with the extreme emotions is to deny the reality of what is happening and cling to familiar routines. There is comfort in the familiar and a sense of security. Denial allows you to protect yourself from the knowledge that life will change dramatically and the feelings of fear associated with that knowledge. Denial can be an effective short-term coping mechanism as long as it does not create other problems in your life.

ANGER

Feelings of anger characterize the next stage. You may be angry with yourself, your spouse, your parents, your job and everyone else around you. It is a necessary part of the process; unless it is acted out in a destructive way, it can be useful. It is not useful, however, to make the divorce process more adversarial than it needs to be. Allow yourself the time you need to move through your anger. It will help you begin to let go and put emotional distance between you and your spouse. Eventually, you will begin to think of yourself as one person, rather than one half of a couple. Until you are able to do this, it will be difficult to focus on your own needs and begin to build a new life for yourself.

AMBIVALENCE

The third stage, ambivalence, is what can make couples break up and get back together. Ambivalence tends to be present during most of the grieving process for people who are suffering the end of a marriage. The divorce process takes people on an emotional rollercoaster ride: depressed, excited for a new life, angry, disappointed and back again. It is normal to feel out of control and uncertain.

DEPRESSION

Depression is difficult to experience, but it can help you move beyond the past into your new life. If you allow yourself to experience loneliness and confront your role in the end of the relationship, you may then be ready to let go and move on. You may be able to stop placing blame on yourself or your spouse and lose the feelings of anger and ambivalence. Your self-esteem will begin to grow, and you will be ready for the final stage: recovery. It is important to try to maintain your focus; professional counseling has been of great assistance to many during this time.

RECOVERY

Once you reach the recovery stage, you are feeling better about yourself. Your self-esteem may still be shaky, but you are ready to build your new life. The first step is to reestablish your social network. You may maintain the friends you enjoyed with your spouse, but often those relationships are based on the shared interests of the married couples. It could be time to find new people whose company you enjoy and who have similar needs in terms of time and activities.

Eventually, you will begin to feel like a single person and actually be comfortable as one. This is a time when you can get to know yourself and build a new identity that will guide you in making positive choices for yourself in the future.

No matter what stage you’re in, the less you have to worry about, the better. Leave the legal maneuvering to an experienced family law attorney who can support you as you evolve throughout the divorce process.

AN AMICABLE DIVORCE

Divorce is one of the most emotional experiences you will ever face. The decision to end a marriage is not an easy one, and often it is accompanied by anger, fear and resentment. The negative emotions associated with divorce are responsible for more than hurt feelings; they affect the legal process and its outcome. Most importantly, if children are involved, they can be deeply distressed. It is in your family’s interest to approach divorce from an amicable perspective; this can spare you a great deal of time, money and heartache. An experienced family law attorney can help you deal with your situation clearly and objectively.

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Divorce is one of the most emotional experiences you will ever face. The decision to end a marriage is not an easy one, and often it is accompanied by anger, fear and resentment. The negative emotions associated with divorce are responsible for more than hurt feelings; they affect the legal process and its outcome. Most importantly, if children are involved, they can be deeply distressed. It is in your family’s interest to approach divorce from an amicable perspective; this can spare you a great deal of time, money and heartache. An experienced family law attorney can help you deal with your situation clearly and objectively.

The more hostile the divorce, the more difficult it will be to resolve the legal issues that surround it. Questions of spousal support, division of property and custody can be contentious.

When it comes to child custody, the court will want to ensure that all decisions are made in the best interests of the children. It is in your interests, therefore, to work toward agreement with your spouse on how custody will be apportioned, keeping in mind how important it is for the children to have both parents in their lives (unless abuse or neglect is involved). If you come to court with a custody agreement in hand, the court is more likely to accept your and your spouse’s wishes. In addition, after the legal maneuvering is over, you and your former spouse will need to work together to make important parenting decisions. If you can come to an agreement on custody, you are more likely to cooperate with each other later.

Accepting that the divorce is happening and making the best of the situation goes a long way toward quelling conflict. So does choosing not to go over past disagreements in your mind; refusing to let go can be a form of denial. This is a time to look forward. Though divorce can be painful, it is also the beginning of a new life. Acknowledge your pain (and your spouse’s pain) and make a plan for moving on. Instead of using the divorce process as a way to win an argument, see if you can use it as a way to resolve an argument.

If you decide to pursue a divorce, you can make it more amicable. When you fight to have your side prevail at all costs, you force the other person to fight against you. If you are committed to finding solutions that work for both of you, the resistance against you begins to dissolve. It is hard to fight someone who is on your side. An experienced family law attorney can be your best ally in achieving a beneficial resolution. Contact a family law attorney who is interested in helping you reach an amicable resolution.

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Men's Divorce Law