The Florida Statutes require a divorce to be just like any other lawsuit. It’s an adversarial type of proceeding. And recently there is an effort to take divorces out of the courtroom, which some people think might not be the best setting for them and resolve them, and in kind of a different way, in a different proceeding that doesn’t create as much conflict as a litigated court case.
In Florida, a person can get divorced if they meet two requirements, their marriage must be broken and cannot be fixed, and there’s no real definition as to what that means. They also have to be a resident of the State of Florida for six months, that way it prevents people from coming to Florida to do a quickie divorce. You have to prove that you’ve lived here for six months before even filing Divorce.
Florida is a no-fault divorce state. If you cheat on your spouse, it rarely matters. In states like North Carolina first, it’s a criminal issue. If you cheat on your spouse or if you cheat with someone’s spouse, and it can also impact the property distribution pretty significantly if someone cheats on their spouse. So whatever state you’re in, the rules are typically quite different as a divorce attorney in Florida. I only give advice to people going through divorces in Florida, because that’s the only state I’m licensed in.
Requirements for Getting Full Custody of a Child
In Florida, it’s very rare that one parent gets full custody of a child because Florida has a public policy where we think it’s very important to have both parents involved in a child’s life. Even if that parent is not perfect. There are two issues:
- Decision making
Typically decision making for children is shared. In other words, both parents have to agree on what school the child will go to, or they agree on what medical procedure the child will have if it can be proven that one parent’s decision-making is actually detrimental, then the court could give one parent exclusive decision-making rights. For example, if I had religious beliefs that prevented my children from obtaining necessary medical care that the doctor said was reasonable and necessary. The parent of my children can try to use that as a reason for me not to make mental medical decisions because they couldn’t argue that line of thinking is detrimental to the children.
As for visitation, usually, both parents get lots of visitation unless there’s a specific safety issue as to why they want. For example, one parent abuses or neglects the child, or very often they might have a substance abuse issue or a mental health issue that would require some type of restricted time sharing. They will get to see their children under the appropriate circumstances.
Guardian ad Litem
A guardian ad Litem is defined as the friend of the child, and usually, a court appoints one if there is some type of issue involving the child that needs investigation in the guardian ad litem. If a point has certain abilities to investigate and also make indications to the court. Typically, the parties have to split the expense of the Guardian Ad Litem. Guardian ad litems could either be attorneys, or they could also have a therapeutic background depending on the needs of the child.
Responsibilities of a Divorce Attorney
We, attorneys have to look out for the best interest of our clients. It is our job to not make decisions for the client, but to educate the client so they can make really good decisions on behalf of themselves and their children as divorce attorneys. We also have a higher ethical code that allows us to take into consideration the best interest of minor children when giving legal advice.