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Destin Divorce Checklist

If youve decided to get a divorce in Destin, divorce information about what to expect in the months ahead should make the process go more smoothly.

The first item on your to-do list is to make sure that Florida is the correct state in which to file for divorce. State residency laws require you or your spouse to have lived in Florida for at least six months to qualify for a Florida divorce. This also applies to members of the military stationed in Florida.

Your next move is to hire an attorney. Interview potential divorce lawyers in Destin and seek out divorce information youll want to know - about the process and the lawyers working style. Most attorneys are happy to meet with you for a short introductory session. Some do charge for this meeting, so be sure to ask about that ahead of time. In the end, youll want to hire the attorney with whom you are most comfortable.

Destin Divorce Information

Your attorney in Destin will know how to write the divorce documents in a such a way that a judge in Okaloosa County can sign off on your divorce. You must be able to show that your marriage is irretrievably broken This is the primary grounds for divorce in Florida.

Meanwhile, your Destin divorce attorney will find it a help if you have started to gather all your financial documentation. You will need to provide a detailed accounting of all your assets and debts. Your assets include your financial holdings, such as bank accounts, retirement accounts, and stocks and bonds, and your property, both real and personal. Real property is land and houses. Personal property includes items such as cars, furniture, and jewelry.

Youll also need to provide the current value of your property for your Destin divorce. If you dont have this information, consider hiring a professional appraiser to help you.

You must also disclose all of your debts including mortgages, car loans, credit cards and lines of credit.

Possible Areas of Disagreement

While the circumstances surrounding every divorce are unique, the disputes tend to fall into one or more of the following four categories:

  • How to divide the property and debts between the spouses
  • Will one spouse financially support the other after the divorce (alimony)
  • Who will get custody of the children and how much visitation will the other parent get
  • How much child support will the non-custodial parent pay

If you do not have complete agreement in all of those areas, or if you have children, you will be referred to mediation, meetings guided by a neutral third-party mediator who will seek to facilitate cooperation. A judge in Okaloosa County will have to decide any issue not resolved in mediation at a trial.

Thinking Like a Judge

As you negotiate with your spouse, it is always helpful to know how a judge would resolve the disputes you may have. In this way, youll have some idea of what to expect should you have to go to trial.

When it comes to dividing the property and debts, you need to know that Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means your judge is going to divide the property and debts in the fairest way possible. This does not necessarily mean a 50-50 split. In coming up with a solution judges deem fair, they take into consideration:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The work history and job prospects of both spouses
  • The physical and mental health of both spouses
  • Expenses for the children
  • Who earned the property

In determining alimony, judges consider:

  • The earning potential of each spouse
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • What work they contributed to the marriage, including being a homemaker and mother

Alimony can be temporary or permanent. Temporary alimony typically gives a spouse a chance to acquire more training or education to land a better job. Permanent alimony is typically awarded to spouses who, for one reason or another, do not have the capacity to earn a decent living wage. Alimony ends when either ex-spouse dies or the receiving spouse re-marries.

How Divorce Affects Your Children

Whether you are from Holiday Isle, Crystal Beach or another other part of Destin, if you have children, you will be required to take a parent education and family stabilization class. The four-hour course helps you deal with your children in this stressful time in a way that promotes their well-being.

Before you decide permanent custody, you should consider who will care for the children during the divorce, called temporary custody. When its time to decide permanent custody, a judge will consider:

  • The mental and physical health of both parents
  • Each parents ability to provide basic necessities, such as food, clothing and shelter
  • Evidence of domestic violence or child abuse, if any
  • The emotional ties between the parents and the child

Both judges and negotiating spouses have less wiggle room when it comes to deciding child support. This is because Florida child-support law offers clear guidelines on how to calculate the payments. The formula considers both spouses income, how many children they have, who has custody, how often the other parent gets overnight visitations, and who pays for items such as insurance, medical benefits, and mortgage or rent payments where the children live.