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Frequently Asked Questions

I was just served with a Temporary Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence by my spouse/girlfriend. What do I do?

Carefully read through the Injunction paperwork so you understand what persons you may or may not contact, whether the injunction prohibits contact with any minor children, whether you must turn in any firearms or any other such directives. The first page of the document will typically indicate a hearing time and place at which a hearing to determine whether a permanent injunction will be entered. YOU MUST ATTEND or the injunction will be entered. You should generally contact an attorney to discuss your rights, obligations and preparations for this hearing.

I’m contemplating a divorce and I am concerned about the division of our home. The mortgage balance very likely exceeds the value of the home and neither of us can afford to move out. What should I do?

This is not an uncommon situation given the current economic climate, however, this matter must be handled on a case-by-case basis. Numerous issues regarding the complexities of your unique situation must be discussed prior to formulating a plan of action. Contact an attorney with expertise in the area of Family Law to discuss these matters.

I have only lived in Florida for a couple of months. My spouse and my children reside in New York and have never lived in Florida. I want to get divorced, but do not want to have to litigate the matter up north. Can I file in Florida?

Simply put, No. For jurisdictional purposes you must be a legal resident of the State of Florida for at least six (6) months prior to filing for divorce, and you must have resided in the State of Florida just prior to your separation. In this scenario you would need to file in New York. Every factual scenario must be analyzed carefully as failing to file in the proper state can lead to paying multiple filing fees.

I caught my spouse cheating. I want to keep them as far away from my spouse as possible. Can you help me?

It is highly unlikely that a spouse’s extramarital indiscretions will prevent a spouse from spending significant time with his/her children. The Court, in determining if time sharing should be restricted will seek to determine if your spouse a danger to the children. Otherwise, the Court will utilize the factors outlined in Florida Statute 61.13 in determining what time sharing schedule is in the best interest of the children. It is advisable to sit with a Family Law Attorney and review these factors so as to better understand the balancing process the Court must use.

My spouse has very little to do with our home financially. I pay the mortgage, utilities and costs associated with the property. The property was purchased during the marriage, but it is only in my name. Does my spouse have any right to this property?

It doesn’t matter who actually paid the bills on the property. If the property was purchased during the marriage and marital funds and marital efforts were used, then the property is a marital asset that must be equitably divided by the Court. However, there are times when a property need not be divided equally and you should discuss your individualized facts with a Family Law attorney to determine whether if you fall under any exception.

I am financially responsible. My spouse, on the other hand, has incurred substantial amount of debt in his own name. Can this debt be completely assigned to him?

The question becomes whether or not this debt was the result of “marital waste” or “dissipation.” Without proof of wrongdoing or expenditures on extra-marital affairs the debt will likely be equally divided by the Court.

My former spouse is living with someone. I pay her a significant amount of permanent alimony and I don’t think it is right that she receives money from me when she’s living with him. Am I right?

You’re probably right. However, what you are asking the Court to do is modify your Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage given that she’s in this relationship. You must show a “substantial change in circumstances” first. She need not get married to this individual for such a substantial change to be established. Rather, you can show that she’s engaged in a supportive relationship.

I am already divorced and I receive child support from my spouse. I know that he’s hiding money. His tax returns say one thing and his lifestyle says another. Can I get increased child support?

Honestly, it depends on how well he has the money hidden, the lifestyle he’s leading and your willingness to expend your monetary resources to attempt to gain an increase in your child support. It comes down to a cost-benefit analysis with your attorney fees and costs and the potential gain. That being said, if you can show that his lifestyle has increased, the Court may impute an increased income. Depending on your evidence, the Court could make such an inference.

I want a 50/50 timesharing schedule. I don’t think the child should be with one parent over the other as we are both equally important in our child’s life. How will the Court decide upon a time sharing schedule?

Florida Statute 61.13 outlines the factors the Court will use and weigh in determine what is in the best interest of your minor child. Each parent is equally important in the child’s life and the Court will consider such a thought, but the schedule will ultimately be designed with the child best interests in mind and potentially not what either parent wants or needs. These issues can be extremely difficult and discussing your situation with an attorney can best prepare you for dealing with time sharing issues during the ongoing divorce process.


Hunter Law Group Florida Family Law Firm