The City of Lake Mary is located in Central Florida and forms part of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area of Seminole County. Home to a variety of businesses, Lake Mary was ranked #4 on Money magazine’s best places to live in America in 2007. What began as an agricultural community in the 1800s was soon built up by Frank Evans, a tightrope walker turned chemist who helped organize the city into what it is today. Divorce and other family law troubles can make life seem like a tightrope walk. If you’re in Lake Mary and have a family law issue, you don’t have to go it alone. You can count on Orlando Family Team. We serve couples and individuals with the dedication and experience they need to restore balance to their lives.

What To Expect In a Lake Mary, Florida Family Law Case

Couples who are separating or divorcing can expect to tackle four major issues (among others):

Property and debt that are acquired during the marriage is generally considered to be marital property. That makes it subject to equitable distribution, the method by which property and debt are divided between Florida spouses. A spouse also needs to be mindful about property and debt that either party brought into the marriage. Classifying your assets and liabilities as marital or separate will, therefore, be a major part of this process.

The court will also need to assign values to whatever will be divided. But this is not as simple as looking up the balance in the checking account. Real property will need to be assessed, pensions will need to be valued, and other assets – some of which are complex – will also need a dollar figure. In the midst of fighting over property, couples often forget about debts. But these can be very real issues if one or both spouses accumulated significant balances during the marriage.

Finally, the court will have to divide the assets and liabilities in a manner that is fair or “equitable.” Because equitable does not mean equal, there are a number of different statutory factors that will be taken into account. A spouse could argue, for instance, that his or her economic situation coming out of the marriage will make it difficult to adjust to life after the divorce. Understanding Florida’s equitable distribution factors can help you make the strongest possible case for taking more property and less debt from the marriage.

Alimony is another issue that will have to be resolved during your divorce. The purpose of alimony is to help spouses become financially self-sufficient once the marriage ends. Many couples believe that alimony is based only on the relative incomes of the spouses. In reality, there are several factors which a judge will consider to determine whether, how much, and for how long alimony must be paid.

A spouse who needs alimony will be concerned with his or her living expenses and how they will be met after divorce. It is important for them to accurately portray their monthly needs and expenses, and for the court to know how much both spouses earn. The spouse from whom alimony is demanded will try to convince the court that alimony is not necessary. That spouse will likely also argue that he or she cannot afford monthly spousal support payments on top of their other obligations. Both spouses will be concerned that the other may try to misrepresent or hide their incomes to either be awarded more alimony or avoid paying it altogether.

Monthly incomes also figure in child support. Whether you are married or not, if you have children, child support will have to be addressed when you and the other parent separate. In Florida, child support will be determined by using a set of guidelines that factor in the parents’ relative incomes, health insurance costs for the child, and more. Parents cannot avoid paying child support by quitting their jobs or working less, but a parent also cannot intentionally under report income to try to gain a higher monthly amount.

The final piece of the puzzle – and again, one that will need to be handled regardless of whether the parents were married – is child custody. Of all the issues in family law, custody is arguably the most challenging one. Going from a two-parent household, to two single-parent households, will present difficulties for both parent and child. Either the parties will need to work out a parenting schedule or the court will need to, but the judge must ultimately agree to how custody is to be shared.

Will Court Be Necessary?

Family law conjures up images of bitter spouses and parents fighting each other in court. Although some cases end up this way, yours does not have to. If you and the other party can amicably settle your differences, a separation agreement may be an option. A separation agreement will minimize the court’s involvement and help save time, money, and stress.

If a separation agreement is an option in your case, it is important that it be drafted correctly. This means ensuring that all issues are covered. With respect to parenting schedules, a judge can set aside anything that is determined to not be in the child’s best interests. An experienced family law attorney will make sure your agreement is comprehensive and that any terms covering the children have their best interests in mind.

Contact Our Lake Mary Family Law Attorney

If you have questions about a domestic matter, you deserve answers from attorneys who have built their practice around family law. Orlando Family Team handles only domestic cases, and we will fight for your rights and interests in court. Call us today to learn more about how we can serve you.