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To obtain a divorce in the state of Florida, at least one spouse must have been a Florida resident for at least six months prior to the case being filed. To ease the stresses that often strain a family during divorce, Florida is one of many states that no longer use “fault” as one of the grounds for divorce. The state grants divorces if the parties meet one of the two following conditions:

The marriage is “irretrievably broken,”
One of the parties is mentally incapacitated

Paternity Actions

Parents often find it necessary to establish paternity through the courts for several reasons:

Mothers often file paternity actions to receive child support
Fathers typically file them to establish custody or visitation rights and have a say in major decisions in the child’s life
Fathers also file paternity actions to prove they are not the father of the child in question.
The Joseph Firm provides them with support through this process, as well as related child support and time sharing proceedings.

Domestic Violence

A Petition for an Injunction against Domestic Violence may be filed against a person who either now or in the past has lived with the victim as a family. In the state of Florida, family is considered to be:

People related by blood or marriage
Spouses, ex-spouses, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles
Parties intimately involved and living together but never married
Adopted children, Step parents and step children, & a person who is the parent of the victim’s child(ren), regardless of whether or not they have ever been married or lived together

Child Custody

In the state of Florida, it is public policy that each child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or divorce.  The court will order that the parental responsibility be shared by both parents unless it is found that shared responsibility would be detrimental to the child:

A parent is deemed detrimental to the child if he or she has been convicted of a misdemeanor of the first degree or higher involving domestic violence.
Once the court advises a convicted parent that he or she has been deemed detrimental to the child and the parent does not refute that claim, shared parental responsibility, including time sharing with the child, and decisions made regarding the child, may not be granted to that parent. However, the parent is still required to pay child support.
Whether or not there is a conviction of any offense of domestic violence or child abuse, the court considers evidence of domestic violence or child abuse as evidence of detriment to the child.
This happens whether or not there is a restraining order for protection against domestic violence involved

Equitable Distribution

Before dividing property, a couple must determine whether either spouse owns any of the property separately. Separate, or “non-marital,” property is not considered for division in divorce proceedings and remains with the spouse who is determined to own the property. Property is separate if one spouse owned it before marriage or acquired it during marriage as a gift (not including gifts from the other spouse) or by inheritance. Separate property also includes:

Assets and debts a couple defines as separate property in a valid written agreement such as a premarital agreement
Income from separate property, unless the spouses have treated the income as marital property by mixing it with marital property, or “commingling” it
Items exchanged for or purchased with separate property


In many cases, divorcees will find themselves in uneven financial situations following a divorce.  Family courts attempt to balance these circumstances through alimony, a payment that the court may order one person to make to the other when a couple separates or divorces.

Bridge-the-gap alimony
Rehabilitative alimony:Interior Maintenance
Durational alimony
Permanent alimony

Child Support

In the state of Florida, both parents are legally required to provide support for their minor child or children.  In most cases, one parent (obligor) pays child support to the other (obligee), but in some cases, both parents pay child support to a third party that has custody of the children or shares parental responsibilities. The amount of child support that the obligor pays the obligee is determined by a formula established in the Florida Child Support Guidelines which includes:

The net income of both parents
Specified expenses including health insurance premiums and daycare costs
The number of nights the child or children spend with each parent
Exact number of time sharing hours


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