Today we are continuing our series in which we address some of the questions we hear most frequently about divorce. If you have any questions of your own, please feel free to schedule a consultation today.
Does Florida law require separation before divorce?
Answer: No. While some states require a separation period before a divorce can proceed, Florida does not. In fact, Florida does not recognize legal separation at all. While you may live apart, you are legally married until you request and obtain a dissolution of marriage.
Can I avoid going to court for my divorce?
Answer: Maybe. If you have a litigated divorce with contentious issues that a judge has to resolve, you will have to go to court to make your case and arguments. If you settle your litigated divorce through some kind of alternate dispute resolution method, such as mediation or collaborative, you can likely receive a final judgment without having to go to court. Since Covid, many local courts have created processes to obtain a final judgment without having to appear in person, but the rules tend to change relatively frequently, and it is up to each individual judge’s policies and procedures whether an in-person appearance is required in a divorce. If you file an uncontested divorce, the same rules apply—it is likely you can obtain a final judgment without having to go to court, but it is not guaranteed. If avoiding going to court is a priority for you, it is important that you discuss this with an attorney who is versed in the various local rules and procedures to maximize your chances of keeping away from the courthouse.
Is the inheritance I received during my marriage considered a marital asset?
Answer: No, but it can become a marital asset if you are not careful. Section 61.075(6)(b)2., Florida Statutes defines as nonmarital “[a]ssets acquired separately by either party by noninterspousal gift, bequest, devise, or descent, and assets acquired in exchange for such assets.” However, inherited property can become a marital asset if it is co-mingled with other marital assets. The most common way to do this is to deposit part or all of the inheritance into a joint bank account. Doing so likely changes the nature of the inheritance from a nonmarital asset to a marital asset—both spouses have access to it in a joint account and over time it becomes difficult to separate out inherited funds from a joint account. The easiest way to prevent your inheritance from becoming marital, and thus subject to a claim from your spouse in a divorce, is to always maintain it in a separate bank account in your name only.
Question: What other expenses will I have to pay for in my divorce besides attorney’s fees?
Answer: There are multiple other types of expenses you may have to pay for in a divorce. This is a list of the most common ones, but you should be aware that it is not an exhaustive list, and it is also not a list of expenses that every divorce necessitates.
- Filing fee;
- The cost to have the clerk of court execute a Summons;
- Having a process server serve your Summons and Petition on your spouse;
- Having a court reporter present at a hearing;
- Having a court reporter create the transcripts from a hearing;
- The cost of a private investigator;
- Recording costs to have a Final Judgment or Deed recorded;
- Certified Copies of your Final Judgment from the clerk’s office.
Divorces are full of nuances and complicated decisions. This is why it is important that you speak to an attorney who will help you understand the law and your options, not someone who will simply quote a statute at you and expect you to fully understand something attorneys go to law school to be able to grasp. At Artemis Family Law Group, we pride ourselves on making the law as accessible to clients as possible. If you don’t understand something, then our job is not finished. Please click here to schedule a consultation at your convenience. And continue to read this ongoing series to answer some of your most common questions.