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Tampa Family Lawyer FAQs 813-222-8210

TAMPA DIVORCE LAWYER’S

ANSWERS TO FAQ
  • I.Tampa Divorce 101
  • II.Tampa Divorce Action
  • III.The Right to Spousal Support in Tampa (Updated Soon)
  • IV.Equitable Distribution of Marital Property in Tampa(Updated Soon)
  • V.Tampa Matrimonial Agreements (Updated Soon)
  • VI.Enforcement of Spousal and Child Support in Tampa(Updated Soon)
  • VII.Modification of Spousal and Child Support Obligations in Tampa(Updated Soon)

Property:

I am up-side-down or have negative equity in my home, how do we divide the property?

If you owe more than your house is worth, the court will typically agree with any agreement that you and your spouse may decide upon. Options that have worked are that the property is treated as an asset and the mortgage is treated as a liability and each item is divided accordingly. Other times the property is sold and each side will pay a portion of the loss at closing. More often than not, the property will be either paid by one spouse that will continue to live in the home, or the house will be sold via short sale, where the bank will work with the parties and cover the loss. I.TAMPA DIVORCE LAWYER’S DIVORCE 101
  • a.Equitable Distribution:
  • i.How are assets and debts divided through a Divorce?
  • ii.Inheritance and Gifts
  • b.Child Custody, Time Sharing and Child Support:
  • i.Can my Tampa Divorce Lawyer help me to obtain custody of my child?
  • ii.What is the difference between Child Custody, Time Sharing and Residential Parent?
  • iii.Can my Tampa Divorce Lawyer get me sole custody of my Child?
  • ic.Alimony:
  • ii.Can my Tampa Divorce Lawyer help me obtain Alimony?
  • iii.When is Alimony appropriate?
II.Tampa Divorce Action
  • a.How do you start an action for divorce or separation in Tampa? What is a summons?
  • b.What is a petition?
  • c.What happens after my spouse is served with the summons?
  • d.Do I have a right to see my spouse’s financial records?
  • e.How do I prove my divorce case?
  • f.What are the grounds for a divorce in Tampa?
  • g.Am I required to reside in Tampa before I can begin my divorce action?
  • h.How long will it take to get divorced in Tampa?
  • III.The Right to Spousal Support in Tampa

  • a.What is Spousal Support?
  • b.What is alimony?
  • c.What is permanent or lifetime alimony?
  • d.How is alimony calculated?
  • e.Do I get more alimony or equitable distribution if my spouse committed adultery or committed cruel and in human treatment?
  • f.Can a man be awarded alimony?
  • g.Will Alimony end if I remarry?
  • h.What factors do the courts consider in determining whether to award temporary or permanent alimony?
  • IV.Equitable Distribution of Marital Property in Tampa

  • a.What is Equitable Distribution of marital property?
  • b.What property is subject to equitable distribution in Tampa?
  • c.Is my business or professional practice subject to Equitable Distribution in Tampa?
  • d.Does equitable distribution mean that all marital assets get evenly divided between the spouses?
  • V.Tampa Matrimonial Agreements

  • a.What constitutes a Matrimonial (or Separation) Agreement?
  • b.When can Matrimonial Agreements be made?
  • c.What formality is required in order to make a Separation Agreements valid and Enforceable?
  • d.What may be included in such agreements?
  • VI.Enforcement of Spousal and Child Support in Tampa

  • a.What can I do if my spouse refuses to pay child support or alimony?
  • b.Can I obtain Child Support Enforcement services?
  • c.What happens when I request Child Support Enforcement services?
  • VII. Modification of Spousal and Child Support Obligations in Tampa

  • a.Can I unilaterally terminate my child support payments if my spouse refuses to allow visitation with my children?
  • b.I was ordered to pay alimony that I can no longer afford. What can I do?
  • c.Can the court eliminate the arrears of alimony in Tampa?
  • d.I signed an agreement which requires me to pay alimony and it was incorporated in my judgment of divorce. What can I do if I can no longer afford to pay?
  • e.In my Tampa divorce judgment I was ordered to pay child support that I can no longer afford to pay. What can I do?
  • f.I signed a settlement agreement which requires me to pay child support and it was incorporated in and survived my judgment of divorce. What can I do if I can no longer afford to pay?
  • g.Can the Court reduce or eliminate my arrears of child support?

  • I.Tampa Divorce 101

  • a.Equitable Distribution

  • i.How are assets and debts divided through a Divorce?

Generally, all assets and debts purchase, acquired or created during the marriage, except inheritance or gifts, are equally divided between the parties. Assets and debts are divided regardless of which party’s name the assets are held in or which party created the asset or debt.

ii.Inheritance & Gifts

Generally, inheritance and gifts to one party from the spouse or a third party remain with recipient. There is a caveat that if the asset is co-mingled into the marital assets the asset may become marital property. Your Tampa Divorce Lawyer will meet with you for a free consultation and evaluation of your case. Each case is different and your Tampa Divorce Lawyer will explain the factors relevant to your case and the applicable law.

b.Child Custody, Time Sharing and Child Support

i.Can my Tampa Divorce Lawyer help me to obtain custody of my child?

Possibly.Your Tampa Divorce Lawyer will meet with you for a free consultation and evaluation of your case. Your Tampa Divorce Lawyer will explain that the Court will likely evaluate three issues in regard to your child’s well being: Custody (or decision making ability), timesharing and child support.

ii.What is the difference between Child Custody and Time Sharing/Residence?

Your Tampa Divorce Lawyer will explain that child custody is the parents control over the major decisions in the life of the child. These decisions include medical, educational and religious decisions. Time sharing is the breakdown of the time that the child will spend with each parent during the week. Typically the Court will assign a primary residential parent, or give the child a primary home, and by default the other parent will be the secondary residential parent or get visitation time.,/p>

iii.Can my Tampa Divorce Lawyer get me sole custody of my Child?

Possibly. Sole custody is only appropriate in the most extreme cases. Your Tampa Divorce Lawyer will meet with you for a free consultation and evaluation of your case. Your Tampa Divorce Lawyer will explain that sole custody generally is appropriate if the other parent is a danger to the child. The danger must be real and direct to the child, and not mere accusations that you are a better parent.

iv.How does my Tampa Divorce Lawyer prove that I am the best candidate to be the child’s primary residential parent?

Each case is different, but your Tampa Divorce Lawyer will meet with you for a free consultation and evaluation of your case. Your Tampa Divorce Lawyer will explain how the facts of your case fit into the factors that the judge will review, and even how your particular judge has evaluated similar cases in the past. The Court is bound to look at the factors set forth in Fla. Stat. 61.13(3).3.

c.Alimony

i.Can my Tampa Divorce Lawyer help me obtain Alimony?

Possibly. Alimony is appropriate in many cases. Your Tampa Divorce Lawyer will meet with you for a free consultation and evaluation of your case. Your Tampa Divorce Lawyer will explain that alimony is a general formula based upon need and ability to pay. You may be entitled to alimony if you have a need for financial assistance and your partner has an ability to pay you alimony.

ii.When is Alimony appropriate?

Alimony is appropriate in many cases. Your Tampa Divorce Lawyer will meet with you for a free consultation and evaluation of your case. Generally, permanent alimony is only appropriate in cases where the parities were married for more then 10 years and you have a need for financial assistance and your partner has an ability to pay you alimony.

II.Tampa Divorce Action

a.How do you start an action for divorce or separation in Tampa?

An action for divorce or annulment is started by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.Thereafter, the Petition must be served personally on your spouse and an affidavit of personal service must be filed in court.

b.What is a summons?

A Summons is a legal document which gives notice to your spouse (the Respondent) that an action was started.

c.What is a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage?

The Petition is a legal document in the action for divorce or annulment. It contains the specific details and reasons for the relief requested, including your grounds for divorce or annulment; it also contains other requests such as child custody, visitation, child support and alimony, equitable distribution of marital property, health insurance, life insurance, payment of legal fees and experts’ fees, exclusive possession of the marital residence, orders of protection, etc.

d.What happens after my spouse is served with the summons?

You start the divorce action by serving a summons and a verified petition and your spouse has 20 days to serve his or her answer to your petition. The Answer may also contain counterclaims against you. You have 10 days to reply to the counterclaim.

e.Do I have a right to see my spouse’s financial records?

In Tampa, both spouses have the right to complete Financial Disclosure as to the other spouse’s income, assets and expenses before the case can proceed to trial or amicable settlement negotiations.

f.How do I prove my divorce case?

Whatever ground, or reasons you rely on to file for divorce, it will have to be proved. The evidence necessary to prove a certain ground is established by prior cases. If your spouse contests the action for divorce, there must be a trial or hearing at which at least one witness (it may be you) will have to testify about your allegations. Florida does not require much proof that the marriage is irretrievable broken and will often take the parties statement about the condition of the marriage as proof.

g.What are the grounds for a divorce in Tampa?

A party must show that the marriage is irretrievably broken or that irreconcilable differences exist between the parties. This is a very low burden to prove.

h.Am I required to reside in Tampa before I can begin my divorce action?

There are a number of factors to consider in regard to venue and jurisdiction, but generally a case is proper in Florida if you reside in Florida for six month prior to the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage. A case is proper in Hillsborough when your resided as husband and wife last in the county.

I.How long will it take to get divorced in Tampa

A simple uncontested divorce can be processed within 30-90 days. A complex contested divorce action, involving contested custody, support, valuation and property issues can take from 6-9 months or longer.   412 E. Madison Street *  Suite 1106 * Tampa, FL 33602 * Stan “The Man” Galewski * www.Galewski.com * 813-222-8210