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Current Trends in Florida Family Law - Common Divorce Myths
I get to keep everything in my name- debts and assets.
Sometimes we hear “That credit card is in her name so she keeps that debt.” Or “the 401-k is my name, so he can’t get that, right?” While either outcome may occur, it may also not be the case. Florida law requires that both debts and assets be equitably distributed between both parties. With today’s economic circumstances, it is not unusual for the debts to outweigh the assets. At the end of the distribution the Court is generally aiming to evenly divide the net worth of the marital estate. So title of an asset does not control who that asset (or debt) is given to.
The child can decide who to live with and whether to visit (age 12 rule).
The statute provides that the Court may consider the “reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference” in making a time-sharing ruling. Therefore while the decision of a child is one of the listed factors in Chapter 61.13, it is one among many factors and not necessarily the deciding factor. Moreover there is no language in the statute that sets a “magic” age at which a child is deemed to be of sufficient intelligence. As we all know every child’s maturity and intellect is different and so that decision is made by the Court on a case by case basis.
Permanent Alimony is guaranteed.
Generally permanent periodic alimony is considered in long term marriages. To make such a determination the Court examines one party’s actual need and the other party’s ability to pay. In addition to permanent alimony there are other forms including temporary support (during pendency of the litigation), bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational.
These myths continue to circulate so before relying on bad information, seek legal advice.
A spouse who does not make timely support payments can have his or her wages garnished through the Florida Child Support Enforcement Department. The court orders that alimony be automatically taken from the paying spouse's paycheck. The court can also order that the paying spouse give the alimony payments to the Support Enforcement Department, which will give the money to the receiving spouse. The department acts as a third party which manages the collection and distribution of support payments on a statewide basis. If the paying spouse of child support or alimony fails to make timely and sufficient payments, the court can suspend the paying spouse's driver's license.
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