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Common Legal Terms You Are Likely to Hear in Your Divorce


For couples seeking a divorce, the process can easily seem overwhelming. In addition to the legal documents and paperwork required, you are likely to hear many terms you are otherwise unfamiliar with. Our Fort Lauderdale legal team wants our clients to be as informed as possible about the various issues that could impact them and any agreements that are made. The following are some of the common terms you are likely to hear throughout these proceedings:

Dissolution of Marriage: The Florida Statutes refer to divorce as the Dissolution of Marriage. This is simply a way of saying that once your divorce is granted, the legal agreement you entered into when you got married is officially terminated or dissolved.

Divorce Petition: These are the legal documents used to initiate a divorce. They include personal information, such as both party’s names, their address, the date they entered into the marriage, and the date they officially separated, along with the general circumstances under which the divorce is being sought. Once filed, your spouse has a limited amount of time to respond or to dispute any of your statements, otherwise the divorce may be automatically granted.

Equitable Division: This refers to how marital property and assets are divided in your divorce. Rather than dividing everything on a 50/50 basis, the court will aim for a fair and reasonable settlement, taking into account factors such as each couples earnings, their individual assets, and their contributions to the marriage.

Parenting Plans: Florida parenting plans are used to determine how children will be provided for after the divorce. It addresses issues such as where the child resides, visitation over weekends, holidays, school breaks, and special occasion, along with transportation arrangements and the authority for making legal decisions on the child’s behalf. If you and the other parent are unable to reach an agreement on these matters, the judge will issue an order, based in part on information provided in the parenting plan.

Child Time Sharing: This refers to the amount of time your child spends with you and the other parent. Rather than having children live with one while the other is restricted to only weeknights and overnight stays every other weekend, the court is generally in favor of time sharing arrangements that allow both parents to play an active and engaged role in their child’s life.

Spousal Maintenance: This is otherwise known as alimony, and may be awarded in divorce cases where one of the spouses has considerably more income or assets than the other, or in situations where one sacrificed their own career or education in favor of the marriage.  When dealing with spousal support and maintenance, it is always important to consider potential tax implications, as amounts received are taxable under Internal Revenue Service guidelines.

Contact Us Today for Help

For answers to additional questions about divorce in Florida and divorce related terms, reach out and contact the law offices of attorney Vanessa L. Prieto to request a consultation in our Fort Lauderdale office today.

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