Florida Family Law FAQ

In Florida, the time it takes to finalize a divorce can vary based on factors such as whether it is contested or uncontested. Generally, if uncontested, it can take about 4-6 months after filing. If it is contested, it can take about a 12-18 months after filing typically. 

Courts decide custody based on the best interests of the child, considering factors like parental capacity, preferences of the child (if mature enough), and stability of the home environment.

Alimony, or spousal support, may be awarded based on factors like the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial resources, and the standard of living during the marriage.

Yes, you can petition the court to modify custody or support orders if there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the original order was issued.

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Either spouse must have lived in Florida for at least six months before filing for divorce. This requirement ensures the court has jurisdiction over the case.

Florida is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning you do not need specific grounds beyond the marriage being irretrievably broken or mental incapacity of a spouse for at least three years.

Child support in Florida is calculated using guidelines that consider each parent’s income, child care costs, health care costs, and the number of children. It’s important to use the most current guidelines.

You can petition for a restraining order (injunction for protection against domestic violence) with court. A Florida Family law lawyer can assist with the process of filling out the required forms and presenting evidence of the violence or threat.

While you can represent yourself (pro se), it is often recommended to consult with a qualified family law attorney, especially for complex cases involving significant assets, custody disputes, or domestic violence issues.

If the other party is not complying with a court order, you may file a motion for enforcement with the court. This process seeks to compel compliance through various legal means, including contempt of court.

Florida Probate FAQ

Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person’s assets are distributed and their debts are settled under court supervision.

Probate is typically required in Florida when someone passes away owning assets solely in their name (without designated beneficiaries) that are not considered exempt from Probate.

The duration of probate in Florida varies depending on factors such as the complexity of the estate, the presence of disputes, and court scheduling. Simple estates may be settled in a few months, while complex estates can take a year or more.

The probate process in Florida generally involves:

  • Filing a petition with the court to open probate.
  • Notifying heirs and beneficiaries.
  • Inventorying and appraising assets.
  • Paying debts and taxes.
  • Distributing remaining assets to beneficiaries.

No, certain assets may bypass probate, such as, but not limited to, those held in joint tenancy with right of survivorship, assets with designated beneficiaries (like life insurance policies and retirement accounts), and assets held in a trust.

The personal representative (executor) appointed by the court has duties that include gathering and managing the estate’s assets, paying debts and taxes, distributing assets to beneficiaries, and providing an accounting to the court.

Disputes in Florida probate court can arise over issues like the validity of the will, the appointment of the personal representative, or disagreements among beneficiaries. They are resolved through court hearings where evidence is presented and legal arguments are made.

Yes, you can contest a will in Florida on grounds such as lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, fraud, or improper execution. Contesting a will involves filing a formal objection with the probate court.

The costs of probate in Florida include court filing fees, attorney fees, personal representative fees, appraisal fees, and other administrative expenses. Costs can vary widely depending on the complexity of the estate and the services required.

Yes, alternatives to probate in Florida include, but not limited to, using revocable living trusts, joint ownership of property with right of survivorship, payable-on-death accounts, and beneficiary designations on assets like life insurance and retirement accounts.

While it is possible to handle probate without an attorney (pro se), the process can be complex and may lead to costly mistakes. Consulting with an experienced probate attorney is often recommended to navigate the legal requirements efficiently.

To start the probate process in Florida, you typically file a petition for administration with the probate court in the county where the deceased person resided. The court then appoints a personal representative to administer the estate.

Estate taxes and income taxes may apply to assets in probate. Florida does not have its own estate tax, but federal estate taxes could apply to larger estates. 

Debts of the deceased person are typically paid from the estate’s assets during the probate process. Creditors must be notified, and their claims must be addressed before the remaining assets can be distributed to beneficiaries.

If someone dies without a will (intestate), Florida law determines how their assets are distributed among their heirs, typically starting with a surviving spouse and descendants. The court appoints a personal representative to manage the estate.

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