Decisions

We understand what you are going through when you are facing a divorce.  Unfortunately, the decision to get divorced has a much more serious impact than the decision you made to get married in the first place.  Years have passed and now you may have children, a house, cars and various assets that have to be divided.  At The Law Offices of David P. Ginzberg we will carefully explain to you the complex issues you must consider when dealing with a divorce. In addition, our attorneys will inform you of your rights and options regarding grounds for divorce, the division of property, spousal support, child custody,support and visitation.

Contemplating divorce is always difficult. Whether you are sure you want to end your marriage or are still considering your options, it helps to learn the basics of divorce law and process. Should you conclude that divorce is necessary, it is very important that you seek the assistance of an experienced family law attorney.  Involving a knowledgeable family law attorney as soon as possible in the divorce process is one of the best ways to preserve your own long-term financial and emotional health.

The Law Offices of David P. Ginzberg have handled many, many divorce cases that resulted in complete satisfaction for our clients.  You can’t experience the benefits of a good family law attorney if you haven’t hired one.  To set up an initial free consultation, call us Toll-Free: 1-800-611-0142.

  • When something is worrisome in your family, you and your loved ones will have to live with the consequences.  Take charge of your situation today and ensure a brighter future for you and your family members.

  • When you hire the Law Offices of David P. Ginzberg, you get a strong advocate whose only goal is making sure that all of your family concerns are adequately addressed and that all of your legal standings are well protected.

  • We have been successfully helping Floridians with legal services since 1984.  We are fully experienced with all facets of the legal procedures required to ensure that your divorce is handled professionally to ensure that you and your loved ones have the best future possible. Our attorneys are top-notch trial lawyers capable of the meticulous effort necessary to guide your case from beginning to end.  You can be certain that every member of our staff knows their job inside and out and will do their very best to provide you with the best defense possible. Don’t hesitate, it’s your future.  Call us, 24/7 Toll-Free: 1-800-611-0142 orsend an e-mail.

Grounds for Divorce

A divorce is a method of terminating a marriage contract between two individuals. From a legal standpoint, a divorce will give each person the legal right to marry someone else, divide the couple’s assets and debts and determine the future care and custody of their children. While each state has individual statutes that address these issues differently, the basic principles the courts follow when considering requests for divorce are relatively uniform.

In a majority of the states there is at least one form of “no fault” divorce. No fault divorce is a marital termination proceeding where the divorce is granted without either party being required to show fault. In no fault states, either party may obtain a divorce, even if the other spouse does not consent to the divorce. (Please see the table at the end of the article to learn if your state allows no fault divorces.)

Other states require that you give a legal reason in order to get a divorce. These are called fault-based divorces. Each state will have a statute that specifically defines the different types of fault that must be proved in order to establish the requested marital termination.

In some states both fault and no fault divorce grounds are available. An experienced attorney can help you determine if you should pursue a fault based or no fault based divorce. Typically, a fault-based divorce is pursued when a couple cannot reach a satisfactory division of property, award of support, or child custody agreement and one party wants the court to consider the conduct of the other party when deciding the issue. Whatever the issue, the decision to pursue a fault-based divorce should be based on legal rather than emotional reasons.

Contested Divorce

Before a divorce may be granted, there are usually five basic issues that must be resolved. They are:

1) Alimony or spousal support;
2) Property division;
and, if there are children:
3) Custody;
4) Visitation; and
5) Child support.

If a divorcing couple agrees on all five of these issues in writing, they will be granted an uncontested divorce and avoid adversarial divorce litigation.

Conversely, if there is disagreement on any of the basic issues, a contested divorce exists. When a divorce is contested, the couple may proceed through all phases of litigation including trial before a family court judge. The couple may also voluntarily seek alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or collaborative divorce or they may be ordered by the court to do so. It is important to consult with an attorney before deciding which method is right for your situation.

Divorce Litigation

The actual legal process for getting a divorce varies by state. However, most marital termination proceedings usually include some version of the following components:

  • Petition – The filing of some form of petition document formally initiates divorce proceedings.

  • Summons & Response – Formal notice to your spouse about your intent to pursue court action to obtain a legal divorce. The response is the other parties’ acknowledgement the divorce procedure has begun.

  • Motions – A formal request to the court to order some type of action before the trial. For example, in situations involving domestic abuse it is not uncommon for a motion for a protective or restraining order to be filed.

  • Discovery – The phase of the proceeding where each side gathers information in support of their legal arguments. It is an important phase in contested actions, particularly if you believe your spouse is hiding assets. It includes depositions and interrogatories.

  • Hearings & Temporary Orders – In some instances there are questions or situations that need to be temporarily resolved before the final divorce agreement is reached or ordered by the court. For example, if the couple can’t agree about where their children should live during the process they would ask the judge, during a hearing, to decide. Temporary orders generally remain in effect until the final decision is made at the end of the divorce process.

  • Trial – A critical court appearance before the judge where the case will be decided. The trial may include witnesses, friends, financial experts, psychologists, as well as other types of evidence including financial records.

  • Judgment – The final decision is a judgment. It is not a verdict in the sense the judge assigns blame to either party. It is simply a legal statement of the judge’s rulings on all the issues in question during the trial, such as custody, visitation, support and property division.


Alternatives for Dispute Resolution

Mediation
Mediation is an alternative to litigation that can be less expensive and less stressful for divorcing couples and their children. In the mediation process, the couple works with a trained mediator to reach agreement on contested issues.

Arbitration
Arbitration is more like litigation than mediation. Instead of using a judge to decide the final outcome, the parties agree to use an arbitrator. Each spouse is represented by an attorney who will represent their best interests during negotiation.

Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce is a relatively new divorce process that requires an up front commitment to resolving disputes by negotiation, compromise and agreement. If either attorney moves the case toward litigation, both will be disqualified from representing their clients in the litigation. If the parties can’t reach agreement, both lawyers (and their law firms) must withdraw.

Alimony, Spousal Support & Maintenance

Alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, is financial support paid by one spouse to another. Each state determines alimony differently. You should consult with an attorney in your state to determine what factors will be considered when deciding if, how much, and to whom alimony will be paid in your case.

There are essentially three types of alimony: permanent, restitutional and rehabilitative. Permanent alimony is an allowance for support and maintenance (such as food, clothing, housing and other necessities) of a spouse. When a party requests permanent alimony, they must establish that they have a need for support and that their spouse has sufficient means and abilities to provide for part or all of the need. Restitutional and rehabilitative alimony are paid for a shorter period of time and most likely provides less than the standard of living during the marriage. Rehabilitative alimony is designed to provide the means necessary to enable a spouse to refresh or enhance job skills necessary to become self-sufficient by providing financial support while the spouse is obtaining necessary training.

The types of factors the courts consider vary from state to state, but may include the respective fault of the parties, the length of the marriage and each party’s financial conditions after the property division.

Division of Property

Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin use the community property system to distribute marital assets between divorcing spouses. While each state has different rules regarding the implementation of its system, all the community property states base their division of marital property on a distinction between community and separate property. Community property is usually divided evenly between the spouses at the time of the divorce and separate property is assigned to the spouse that owns it.

Community property is everything that a husband and wife own together from the start of their marriage until the date they separate. In community property states, both husband and wife are deemed to own all the money either one of them earns as well as all property acquired during the course of the marriage, regardless of who purchased it. Similarly, any debt acquired during the course of the marriage will be deemed to be community debt without consideration of which spouse actually incurred it.

Separate property is anything the husband or wife owns separately. Spouses can indicate that something is separate property giving it up in writing. Individual spouses may also incur separate debt through a showing that the creditor was only looking to one spouse or their property for repayment. Otherwise, separate property is usually limited to:

  • Property owned before the marriage;

  • Gifts or inheritances received during the marriage and maintained as separate property; and/or

  • Post separation earnings.

There may be instances where couples mix separate and community property. When distinct separate property assets can be shown they will honored. Otherwise, the separate property will be deemed to have become community property subject to equal division. Because classification of property and its division can become one of the most contentious issues in a divorce, you need the advice and assistance of a family law attorney familiar with the family laws and procedures in your particular state.

Conclusion

Reaching the decision to end a marriage is enormously difficult. Once you do make the decision it is in your best interest to approach the divorce process from a rational, businesslike perspective, which is extraordinarily difficult given the emotional issues with which you must also cope. Working with an attorney who is experienced in family law will ease your stress and help you get through the process to begin your new life.

Contact The Law Offices of David P. Ginzberg today.  Upon your first visit, we provide you with a comprehensive consultation with one of our attorneys ABSOLUTELY FREE, or if you prefer, you can get answers fast over the phoneCall us Today Toll-Free: 1-800-611-0142, or send an e-mail.

  • This service costs you nothing, yet allows you to obtain straight-forward answers to your questions to help put your mind at ease.

  • We will advise you exactly what you should or shouldn’t do next.

  • If you choose to have us handle your case, we will tell you up-front and in
    writing exactly what services we will provide, along with the amount of our fees and costs.

  • Get the help you deserve nowCall us today,  24/7  Toll-Free:   1-800-611-0142 or send an e-mail now.

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It’s reassuring to know that you have someone in your corner to look after you.

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  • Get the help you deserve nowCall us today,  24/7  Toll-Free:  1-800-611-0142 or send an e-mail now.

Grounds for Divorce and Residency Requirements

The following table summarizes grounds for divorce and residency requirements in each state.

STATE No Fault Sole
Grounds
No Fault Added to Traditional Incompatibility Living Separate
and Apart
Alabama   X X 2 years
Alaska X X X 2 years
Arizona X X    
Arkansas   X   18 months
California X      
Colorado X      
Connecticut   X   18 months
Delaware   X X 6 months
District of
Columbia
X     1 year
Florida X      
Georgia   X    
Hawaii       2 years
Idaho   X    
Illinois   X   2 years
Indiana   X    
Iowa X      
Kansas     X  
Kentucky X     60 days
Louisiana   X   6 months
Maine   X    
Maryland   X   1 year
Massachusetts   X    
Michigan X      
Minnesota X      
Mississippi   X    
Missouri   X   1-2 years
Montana X   X 180 days
Nebraska X      
Nevada     X 1 year
New Hampshire   X   2 years
New Jersey   X   18 months
New Mexico   X X  
New York   X   1 year
North Carolina   X   1 year
North Dakota   X    
Ohio   X X 1 year
Oklahoma     X  
Oregon X      
Pennsylvania   X   2 years
Rhode Island   X   3 years
South Carolina   X   1 year
South Dakota   X    
Tennessee   X   2 years
Texas   X   3 years
Utah   X   3 years
Vermont   X   6 months
Virginia   X   1 year
Washington X      
West Virginia   X   1 year
Wisconsin X      
Wyoming   X X