Significant Divorce Law Changes in Florida An Introduction
Over the past decade, Florida has seen several significant changes to its divorce laws. These changes have impacted many aspects of the divorce process, including alimony, custody, and filing procedures. As a result, it is essential for attorneys practicing in Florida to stay up-to-date on these changes to ensure they provide the best possible legal representation for their clients.
This article will explore five of Florida’s most significant changes to divorce laws over the past ten years. We will provide practical examples to illustrate these changes and their impact on divorce proceedings in Florida.
Elimination of Permanent Alimony
In recent years, one of the most significant changes to Florida’s divorce laws is the elimination of permanent alimony in most cases. This change came in 2011 when Florida passed a law that required judges to consider several factors when awarding alimony, including the length of the marriage, the earning capacity of both parties and the standard of living during the marriage.
Before this change, permanent alimony was often awarded to women who were homemakers and had limited earning capacity. However, this change has led to a more balanced approach to alimony, with judges awarding temporary alimony in many cases.
Example 1: John and Mary have been married for 20 years. Mary was a stay-at-home mom for their entire marriage, and John was the sole breadwinner. They get divorced, and Mary seeks permanent alimony. Under the new law, the judge may award temporary alimony to help Mary transition back into the workforce rather than permanent alimony.
Florida Statutes – Alimony: https://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0061/Sections/0061.08.html
Collaborative Divorce Process
Another significant change to Florida’s divorce laws is creating the collaborative divorce process. This process allows couples to work with their attorneys to resolve disputes outside the court to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
The collaborative divorce process has become increasingly popular in recent years, allowing couples to avoid the stress and expense of a contentious divorce trial.
Example 2: Sarah and Tom have been married for 15 years and have decided to divorce. They both want to avoid a contentious divorce trial and have opted for the collaborative divorce process. With the help of their attorneys, they can reach a mutually beneficial agreement on all issues related to their divorce.
Requirement for Parenting Plans
In 2008, Florida passed a law requiring divorcing parents to create a parenting plan outlining how they will share time with their children and make important decisions about their children’s upbringing.
This change has significantly impacted divorce proceedings in Florida, as it has helped reduce conflict and ensure that children’s best interests are always considered.
Example 3: Lisa and Alex have been married for 12 years and have two children. They get divorced, and the judge orders them to create a parenting plan. With the help of their attorneys, they can create a comprehensive plan that addresses all aspects of their children’s upbringing, including education, healthcare, and extracurricular activities.
Florida Statutes – Parenting and Time-Sharing: https://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0061/Sections/0061.13.html
Expansion of Electronic Filing
Another significant change to Florida’s divorce laws is expanding its electronic filing system for divorce cases. This change came in 2013 and has allowed parties to file and serve documents electronically, reducing the need for in-person court appearances.
This change has significantly impacted the efficiency of the divorce process, as it has reduced the need for parties to physically appear in court for routine matters.
Example 4: John and Mary have decided to get divorced. With the help of their attorneys, they can file all necessary documents electronically, reducing the need for in-person court appearances and saving time and money in the process.
Simplification of the Divorce Process
In 2018, Florida passed a law that simplified the divorce
process for couples who have reached an agreement on all issues related to their divorce. This simplified process allows couples to obtain a divorce without going to court as long as they meet certain requirements.
This change has significantly impacted the cost and time associated with obtaining a divorce, particularly for couples who can reach an agreement without the need for litigation.
Example 5: Kate and Mike have been married for 8 years and decided to divorce. With the help of their attorneys, they can reach an agreement on all issues related to their divorce. They can then obtain a divorce without going to court, saving time and money in the process.
To summarize, here are the five largest changes to divorce laws in Florida over the last 10 years:
1. The Elimination of Permanent Alimony
2. The Creation of Collaborative Divorce
3. The Requirement for Parenting Plans
4. The Expansion of Electronic Filing
5. The Simplification of the Divorce Process
Florida Divorce Law Changes Conclusion
In conclusion, the changes to divorce laws in Florida over the past decade have significantly impacted divorce proceedings in the state. The elimination of permanent alimony, the creation of the collaborative divorce process, and the requirement for parenting plans have helped to make divorce proceedings more fair and efficient. In contrast, the expansion of electronic filing and the simplification of the divorce process have reduced the cost and time associated with obtaining a divorce.
Attorneys practicing in Florida must stay up-to-date on these changes to ensure they provide their clients with the best possible legal representation. The examples provided in this article demonstrate the practical impact of these changes on divorce proceedings in Florida. As such, attorneys must understand these changes and their implications when advising clients on divorce-related matters.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Contact an attorney before taking any action.