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Family Law FAQ

Common Family Law Questions for South Florida Residents

At the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., our family law attorneys have been representing South Florida clients in high net worth and complex family law matters for over a decade. Founding partner Sandy T. Fox is a Florida Bar Board Certified Marital & Family Law Attorney, a specialist designation earned by only a small fraction of practitioners in Florida. We rely on our experience and resources to help clients avoid costly and time-consuming litigation on issues like property distribution, alimony, child support, and child custody through settlement and mediation whenever possible. Here are some answers to questions that you might have regarding family law issues that often arise.

Do I Have to Go Through a Court to Get a Divorce?

Yes. A divorce must be granted by a judge. Florida is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning that a person can get a divorce by simply claiming that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” In addition to dissolving the marriage, a local judge may also be required to resolve matters like division of property or child custody and support if the spouses cannot agree on them.

The good news is that some couples may qualify for a simplified divorce procedure, which is available in cases where the parties agree on certain issues.

Do I Qualify for a Simplified Divorce?

Spouses can jointly file a petition for a simplified dissolution of their divorce if all of the following circumstances apply:

  • One spouse has lived in Florida for at least six months immediately prior to the divorce;
  • The couple does not have kids under the age of 18;
  • Neither spouse is seeking alimony, or monetary support, from the other;
  • The spouses have agreed on how they will divide all property and debt; and
  • The spouses agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

Spouses who do not meet these requirements can start contested divorce proceedings when one of them files a standard petition of dissolution.

How are High Net Worth Cases Different?

Under Florida’s equitable distribution scheme, a court asked to divide a divorcing couple’s assets is required to do so in a way that is fair to both parties. This does not always mean an exactly even split. Instead, a judge will consider the circumstances and financial situation of each spouse in making this determination.

In high net worth cases, that principle still applies. However, the types of assets involved may be more difficult to identify and distribute than in other situations. For example, high net worth families may have various business holdings, which must be identified and valued before they can be distributed to the divorcing spouses. Similarly, a wide variety of investment income and, in some cases, hidden assets that one spouse has concealed from the other, must also be located and accounted for.

What If I Don’t Want a Judge to Decide What Will Happen to My Kids and My Assets?

It is our experience as seasoned South Florida family lawyers that the overwhelming majority of divorce cases can be resolved through settlement and mediation rather than resorting to the stressful litigation process. Even though you have to get a judge to grant your divorce, you do not have to let the judge decide issues like child custody and support or asset distribution. We find that these sensitive matters can be resolved by working together to develop a settlement or mediation agreement that then can be presented to the court for approval. Even when an accord cannot be reached on all of the issues, divorcing spouses may be able to avoid some of the acrimony often involved in these situations by reaching agreement on other issues where possible.

Do I Need a Parenting Plan?

Yes, if you have a child under the age of 18. Florida law strongly encourages divorcing spouses to develop a detailed parenting plan that lays out when and how much time a child will spend with each parent, where the child will live, and how parental responsibility will be shared or divided. This plan is submitted to the court during divorce proceedings and, once approved, becomes part of the court’s order. It is intended to provide basic guidelines for the spouses and avoid unnecessary trips back to the court to resolve parenting squabbles.

How Can the Miami Attorneys at Our Office Help in a Divorce Proceeding?

If you are considering seeking a divorce in the Miami area, you should strongly consider obtaining the advice of an experienced lawyer. Not only can a knowledgeable advocate guide you through the process, but a lawyer can also help you make key decisions designed to lessen the stress, time, and cost often associated with ending a marriage. As a Board Certified family law expert, Sandy T. Fox has the knowledge, experience, and ability to help you arrange a divorce in a way that makes the most sense for you and your family. Our firm prides itself in providing personalized legal services to the people we represent. That means that we take the time to fully understand your circumstances and interests, and we keep you aware of and involved in the process every step of the way.

Contact the divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A. for a confidential consultation at our Miami firm. We are conveniently located in Aventura, and our lawyers are available to work directly with clients. Call 800.596.0579 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.