Choosing the right divorce lawyer in Orlando is an important decision. Anyone who has been through a marital break-up knows what a painful ordeal it is. Between splitting up the family, coping with the financial consequences, and transitioning to a new lifestyle, divorce can be an emotional and financial burden. Ultimately, it takes a compassionate, experienced divorce attorney to help lift that burden.
At Orlando Family Team, we handle divorce cases with a powerful combination of aggressive representation and caring, personal attention. As a husband and wife team, Ophelia Bernal-Mora, Esq., B.C.S. and Andrew Nickolaou, Esq. are highly attuned to a family’s needs when a marriage comes to an end. When you consult us, you will have confidence, knowing that your family’s future is in good hands.
The Divorce Process in Florida
To be eligible for a divorce in Florida, at least one of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least 6 months before filing a petition. Additionally, there are only two grounds for a divorce. The first is referred to as “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” This simply means that the spouses are incapable of resolving their differences in spite of counseling or other efforts to preserve the marriage. In addition, a divorce will be granted on the basis of mental incapacity if one of the spouses has been declared mentally incapable by a judge for a 3-year period prior to filling.
Generally, there are two types of divorce — uncontested and contested. In an uncontested divorce, the parties are able to reach an agreement on the key issues (e.g. division of property, alimony, child custody/support). Despite being “uncontested,” it is highly advisable to work with an experienced divorce attorney. An uncontested divorce is still a legal action, requiring a settlement agreement that must be approved by the court.
At Orlando Family Team, we believe it is best for both parties to reach an agreement outside of court and can help to negotiate well-conceived agreements. At the same time, we are fully prepared to guide clients through a contested divorce, one in which the parties cannot agree on divorce terms.
Finally, for divorcing spouses with children, the parties must agree on a parenting plan before a divorce will be granted. If they cannot reach an agreement on parental responsibilities and time-sharing, the court will intervene to determine a parenting plan based on the best interests of the children. Whatever your situation may be, our husband and wife team we will stand by every step of the way, offering you trustworthy advice so you can move one with your life.
Common Matrimonial Law Considerations
By taking the time to understand your unique circumstances and goals, we will make the divorce process as stress-free as possible by helping you navigate the key issues in a divorce, including:
- Division of Property — In a Florida divorce, marital property such as real estate, bank accounts, debt, investments, retirement accounts, and closely-held businesses must be divided according to the state’s rules of equitable distribution. This does not mean that the marital property will be divided equally, but rather in a way that is fair and reasonable. If the parties cannot agree, the court will make final determinations on dividing the marital property.
- Alimony — More commonly referred to as spousal support, alimony is generally based on the needs of the receiving spouse and the other party’s ability to pay. In Florida, there are four types of spousal support — temporary, rehabilitative, durational, and permanent. While there is no set formula for determining spousal support, the court will consider factors such as each spouse’s income, the duration of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, each party’s earning capacity, and the receiving spouse’s need for further education or training to secure employment.
- Child Custody — As mentioned above, the spouses must reach a court-approved parenting plan before a divorce will be granted. It is worth noting that Florida has replaced the terms custody and visitation with parental responsibility and time-sharing in recognition of the fact that both parents have equal rights to access to their children.
- Child Support — Although all parents have an obligation to support their children, disputes over child support determinations and payments are not uncommon. Nonetheless, the parties must follow the Florida child support guidelines which consider factors such as each parent’s income, the number of children in the marriage, the cost of childcare, educational expenses, health insurance payments, and medical expenses.
Is Divorce Mediation a Valid Alternative?
There is an alternative to litigating a divorce for those who are seeking a more civil, cost-effective way to dissolve a marriage — divorce mediation. This process requires the parties to work with a mediator who guides the parties in negotiating a marital settlement agreement. Before a divorce will be granted, the court must approve the agreement. In any event, mediation will only be successful if the parties negotiate in good faith.
Speak to a Local Divorce Lawyer Today
Based in Maitland Florida, the Orlando Family Team is here to help you navigate the divorce process. Whether you need assistance with mediation, an uncontested or contested divorce, or crafting a parenting plan, we will provide you with a safe harbor so that you can make the best decisions about your future. Our husband and wife team will listen to your concerns and make sure your interests are protected. If your marriage has irretrievably broken down, don’t go it alone. Please contact us today.