Pensacola Family Law Attorneys Answer Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce in Florida and Alabama
The frequently asked questions and answers below are provided by the family law attorneys at the Law Offices of J.J. Talbott in Pensacola for the benefit of people who are contemplating a divorce under Florida or Alabama law. If you live in the Florida panhandle or southern Alabama and need representation in a divorce, child custody matter, or post-divorce modification, contact our office to speak with one of our dedicated family law attorneys.
How long does a divorce take?
The soonest a divorce can be finalized after a petition is filed is 20 days in Florida or 30 days in Alabama. However, if the divorce is contested, the process will likely take longer. If the issues to be resolved are particularly challenging to work out, such as a high-conflict child custody battle or a dispute over complex marital property issues, a trial may be necessary to resolve the matter, and it normally takes several months to properly prepare a case for trial.
Although you may simply want to get through the process as quickly as possible, it is more important to do it right than to do it fast. A divorce decree can impact your finances and your relationship with your children for years to come, so don’t let your desire to be done with the divorce interfere with your long-term best interests.
Do I have to keep paying alimony or child support if I lose my job? What if my ex-spouse remarries?
Although divorce decrees are final, it is possible to go back to court and ask the judge to modify them when a change in circumstances justifies a modification. For instance, the judge could increase, decrease or terminate a spousal support obligation or child support award in response to an increase or decrease in either party’s income or needs. The child custody and visitation arrangement could also be modified in the event one parent needs to relocate far away or out-of-state. Changes to child support or custody are only made if the judge determines a modification would be in the child’s best interest. Legal advice and representation is highly recommended when seeking or challenging a post-divorce modification.
Why would I need an attorney to figure how much child support is owed?
Child support is calculated according to a statutory formula, but it can be more complicated than simply plugging in numbers. The formula can quickly become confusing when both parents are wage earners, or when one parent is self-employed or owns a business. Some individuals may also try to hide assets in order to pay less in child support or alimony or to take advantage of the other in the property settlement. Finally, even though child support is established according to statutory guidelines, the judge has the authority to deviate from these guidelines in appropriate cases. Having an attorney on your side can help make sure you are fairly represented throughout the process and that neither you nor your children are taken advantage of.
My spouse makes all the money, and I don’t know how I will live if I file for divorce.
If you need to get out of the marriage, do not let worries like this prevent you from filing for divorce. Early in the divorce process, the judge normally issues temporary orders which require the parties to maintain the status quo regarding bank accounts, credit cards, etc. This way neither party can freeze the other out of the joint finances or gain an edge by selling a car or home or making a major purchase. The judge can also make temporary orders for child custody and spousal support and topics such as who can use the family home while the divorce is pending. Share your concerns with your family law attorney to make sure the appropriate court orders get put in place.
Do you still have questions? Call us today at 850.437.9600 for a free consultation.