Navigating Divorce with P.E.A.C.E.: A Comprehensive Guide to Methodical Resolution


Embarking on the journey of divorce necessitates a comprehensive understanding of the many issues involved.  Family law attorneys often use a structured approach encapsulated in the PEACE acronym, wherein each letter represents a critical aspect of a divorce in a specific order: Parenting Issues, Equitable Distribution, Alimony, Child Support, and Everything Else. In this thorough exploration, we will delve into each component of the PEACE acronym, explaining why addressing these issues in a specific order is not only mathematically sound but also immensely beneficial for organizing your thoughts during the overwhelming divorce process.


Parenting Issues:

At the epicenter of any divorce lies the pivotal matter of parenting, a facet that extends far beyond legal agreements. Addressing parenting issues early in the process is not merely advisable; it is integral. This phase involves determining time-sharing arrangements (formerly known as “custody”), constructing a comprehensive time-sharing schedule, and making decisions that profoundly impact the child’s education and healthcare. By dedicating time to resolve parenting matters first, a foundational structure is laid for other aspects of the divorce. Decisions made in this phase have a cascading effect, influencing child support calculations and impacting equitable distribution. Furthermore, an early focus on parenting fosters cooperative co-parenting, contributing significantly to a healthier environment for the children involved.  Finally, children should come first in any divorce, so deciding issues related to parenting first just makes good sense.  It also ensures that the time-sharing schedule, which should be based on what it in the best interests of the children, is not being impacted by financial decisions in Equitable Distribution or Alimony.


Equitable Distribution:

Equitable Distribution, the next step in the PEACE acronym, involves the fair division of marital assets and liabilities. This stage necessitates a meticulous examination of financial contributions to the marriage, essentially everything that a couple owes and owns.  Addressing equitable distribution after parenting issues enables a more accurate assessment of the financial needs of both parties, especially when considering the financial responsibilities associated with raising children. The process may involve appraising property, evaluating complicated financial documents, and negotiating a fair division of assets. This systematic approach ensures that financial considerations align with the responsibilities outlined in the parenting plan, fostering transparency and fairness.



Alimony, or spousal support, emerges as a critical aspect after addressing parenting and equitable distribution. This phase seeks to ensure a more accurate assessment of each party’s financial situation, acknowledging the complexities that arise after the dissolution of a marriage. The decisions made regarding alimony can significantly impact child support calculations, emphasizing the need to tackle this issue in a systematic order. Factors such as the duration of the marriage, the financial needs of each party, and the standard of living during the marriage are considered when analyzing alimony. This careful consideration plays a pivotal role in crafting a fair and sustainable financial arrangement for both spouses post-divorce.


Child Support:

Child support, a cornerstone in divorce proceedings, ensures that the financial needs of the children are met post-divorce. Addressing parenting, equitable distribution, and alimony before delving into child support calculations enhances accuracy and avoids potential complications. Child support calculations involve considering each parent’s income, the number of children, and specific expenses related to the children’s well-being, as well as the specific time-sharing schedule that the parents have agreed to use. A thoughtful approach to child support ensures that the financial responsibilities align with the parenting arrangements established earlier in the process. This systematic progression, guided by the PEACE acronym, not only streamlines the divorce process but also safeguards the best interests of the children involved.


Everything Else:

The final stage in the PEACE acronym encompasses addressing any remaining issues that were not covered in the preceding steps. This includes the division of personal property, considerations regarding adult children, and the finalization of the legal details of the divorce. By saving these miscellaneous issues for the final phase, individuals can focus on the core aspects of the divorce first, making the entire process feel more manageable. This deliberate approach allows for a comprehensive resolution, ensuring that no important details are overlooked in the rush to conclude the divorce process. Addressing everything else after resolving the core issues also provides a smoother transition into post-divorce life for both parties, fostering a sense of closure and allowing individuals to embark on their new chapter with clarity.



In conclusion, the PEACE acronym stands as a guiding beacon, providing a structured and logical approach to navigating the complicated landscape of divorce. By systematically addressing Parenting Issues, Equitable Distribution, Alimony, Child Support, and Everything Else in a specific order, individuals not only follow a mathematically sound progression but also gain a profound sense of organization and control over the myriad decisions involved in divorce. This methodical approach reflects a commitment to guiding clients through the divorce process with empathy and efficiency, ultimately paving the way for a more peaceful and sustainable post-divorce life. As individuals traverse this challenging terrain, the PEACE acronym serves as a roadmap, facilitating a comprehensive and thoughtful resolution for all parties involved.  When you are ready to discuss the divorce process, please schedule a consultation today.

Does Adultery Matter in My Divorce?

Many marriages end due to the adultery of one spouse (or both spouses).  But does that adultery matter in the divorce?  Legally speaking, probably not.

Florida is a “no-fault divorce” state, which means that any individual who is in a marriage can obtain a divorce either because the marriage is “irretrievably broken” or due to the mental incapacity of one of the spouses, so long as the spouse alleged to be incompetent has been adjudicated as such at least three years prior to the divorce.  Section 61.052(1)(a)-(b), Florida Statutes (2023).  You’ll notice that there is no mention of a finding of fault against either spouse in order to obtain a divorce in Florida.

Many decades ago, before Florida adopted the “no-fault divorce” statute, a spouse did have to prove entitlement to divorce, and one of the primary ways to meet that burden was to prove that the other spouse had committed adultery.  Those days are long gone.  However, there is one exception in which the adultery of one spouse can have an impact on a divorce:  alimony.

The latest version of Florida alimony statute states, “The court may consider the adultery of either spouse and any resulting economic impact in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded.”  Section 61.08(1)(a), Florida Statutes (2023).  It is not simply the existence of an adulterous affair or adulterous conduct that matters, however.  There is a long line of cases discussing what is called the dissipation of marital assets.  Essentially, if adulterous conduct led a spouse to secretly waste marital assets on an adulterous relationship, that decrease in overall marital assets can be considered when determining the amount of alimony.  Adulterous affairs can lead to all kinds of very expensive spending, such as on jewelry, vacations, paying for someone’s living situation, expensive meals, etc.  An ongoing adulterous affair that goes on long enough can result in significant dissipation of marital assets.

Proving dissipation can be a difficult and costly endeavor, as you must do more than simply allege that your marital assets were reduced due to a spouse’s affair.  Typically, one must go through years of bank statements and financial records to piece together which purchases were for the benefit of the marriage and which ones were for the benefit of the adulterous relationship.  Thus, like much of the family law system, a cost-benefit analysis must be performed to determine how worthwhile this undertaking would be compared to how costly it would be.  If financial experts are required, then the cost can really skyrocket.

We understand that divorce is an emotional process as well as a financial process, and often it can be difficult to see the cost-benefit analysis and make the right decision for yourself.  This is why it is extremely important to speak to an attorney who will not simply agitate you and push you to go down this road, which will increase the number of hours they spend on your divorce significantly, and speak to someone who will provide you a level-headed analysis based on a multitude of factors (your family’s financial capabilities generally, your odds of success given the county you are in and the judge presiding over your divorce, how much more you are likely to receive if you are successful, and how much it will reasonably cost to investigate and pursue an alimony award based in part on suspected dissipation of marital assets).  Please click here to schedule a consultation at your convenience and discuss your options with an attorney you can trust to help you make the right decisions for you and your family.