Divorce

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE

Divorce is often one of the most difficult things that a person can go through. A divorce will affect nearly every major part of a person’s life, such as their children, their familial relationships, their career and finances, where they live, their social circles and more.

At Integrity Law, we take a holistic view of the client’s circumstances to help guide them toward decisions that work for them and their family. It is our goal to provide our clients with reasonable expectations and probable outcomes that will enable him or her to make informed decisions. We are here every step of the way to assist you during this difficult time in your life.

Every divorce case is different.  There is no “one size fits all” approach to a dissolution.  This is why we will consult with you in detail regarding all aspects of your marriage and answer any questions you have.

In a divorce, we follow the acronym P.E.A.C.E. to facilitate your divorce.  “P” stands for parenting plan. If you have minor children, then we must determine an appropriate parenting plan to facilitate co-parenting amongst two households. “E” stands for equitable distribution. In a divorce we must divide up all marital assets acquired, and liabilities incurred during the marriage. “A” stands for alimony.  The purpose of alimony is to support a party financially based on the lifestyle they were accustom to. An award is not simply based on one party making more than the other.  Instead, we must navigate Florida law and prove that one party has a need for alimony, and the other the ability to contribute. “C” stands for child support. Child support is not an arbitrary number determined by either the parties or the court.  Instead it is based on guidelines as provided for in Florida statutes which take into account gross incomes of the parties, deductions, child care, visitation and more. “E” stands for everything else, which may include a request for restoration of former name, attorney and mediation fees, domestic violence cases and more.

Many people don’t realize that most divorce cases settle either by agreement with or without mediation.  In fact, a judge will not decide the fate of your divorce without first attending mediation. Mediation is where a neutral third party is hired (often by attorneys for the parties) to assist the parties in reaching a resolution on all issues in their divorce. If an agreement is reached, then it is considered a binding contract which will then be presented to the judge for his or her signature.  As with any agreement, the power rests with the parties to decide what they wish to do in their case as opposed to a judge making the decision for you.

If, however, settlement is not an option, we will thoroughly prepare ourselves to present our client’s best case to the judge for a resolution of the issues.

When and if you feel the need to seek counseling to deal with a divorce, please call our office for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys who can help you navigate through this difficult time.

Contested Vs. Uncontested

Understanding Uncontested Divorce:

Usually, the simplest divorce cases are uncontested divorce, which means both parties agree on all issues affecting them, such as child support, time-sharing (formerly known as custody and visitation), division of property and debts, and alimony. Each party must make full financial disclosure to the other.

Uncontested divorces usually are resolved much faster than contested divorces. Of course, an uncontested divorce is only possible in situations where the parties are willing to cooperate with each other and come to a full and complete settled agreement on all issues. However, it is natural for communication to break down and an uncontested divorce can transform into a contested one.

If you think an uncontested divorce may be your situation, let us walk you through the process. Once the agreement is made, we will draw up a Marital Settlement Agreement and submit it to the court for entry. If you have started the divorce process on your own and have run into trouble, it’s not too late for us to step in and help you work it out.

Regardless of the nature of your divorce action, a knowledgeable divorce lawyer can ensure your family and property rights are protected. At Integrity Law, we keep your needs a priority and work tirelessly to achieve the best possible scenario for you.

Contact us today at 904-224-2100 or by filling out our online form here.

TYPES OF DIVORCE:

Jacksonville Military Divorce

Divorces involving current and retired members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard often involve issues not found in non-military divorces. For example, in a military divorce, the most valuable marital asset is typically the military pension of one spouse.

There are federal laws which principally govern the division of a military pension and the proper calculation of a party’s marital entitlement to the same.

The rules and limitations are numerous and complex and in order to properly understand and comply with those rules, a divorce attorney handling a military divorce should be familiar with the applicable federal laws and experienced in handling military divorces.

The “Ten Year Rule”

An example of a commonly misunderstood concept is “The Ten Year Rule.” Often, the belief is that The Ten Year Rule requires military marriages to last ten years before a spouse is entitled to receive a share of the military pension. Still others believe that if The Ten Year Rule is satisfied, the spouse is automatically entitled to half (or another percentage) of the member’s pension.

In fact, the “The Ten Year Rule” deals only with the method of how a former spouse that is awarded a share of the service member’s pension will receive those payments. Specifically, it entitles a spouse that was married for at least ten years while the member was on active duty to receive his or her share of the military pension directly from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) as opposed to DFAS sending the entire monthly pension check to the service member and the service member then issuing payment to the former spouse.

However, the Ten Year Rule has nothing to do with whether the spouse is entitled to a portion of the pension in the first place nor does it have anything to do with how much of the pension a former spouse will be entitled to.

The Survivor Benefits Plan

Another important aspect unique to military divorces is the Survivor Benefits Plan (“SBP”), which is an annuity that protects former spouses who are awarded a portion of the military pension in a divorce.

Without SBP coverage, when the service member dies, the military pension benefits end for the former spouse, unless SBP coverage is in effect. The right to SBP coverage is not automatic and it must be agreed to in writing or ordered by the court in writing. In addition, the former spouse that receives SBP entitlement in a divorce must submit a “deemed-election letter” within one-year of the final judgment in order to preserve their SBP rights.

The rules which govern Reserve Component military pensions and SBP benefits are different from those which govern regular military pensions and SBP benefits since the Reserve Component programs are significantly different from their active-duty counterparts.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is yet another federal law which may impact a military divorce. The SCRA provides protections for active duty service members by allowing them—under certain specific circumstances—to put a hold on court proceedings (as well as other obligations) so they can focus their full attention on their duties.

Other Areas of Concern

Other types of military divorce include the former spouse’s post-divorce health care insurance, which, depending on the length of marriage and military service, can be addressed through Tricare coverage, the Continued Health Care Benefit Program, group coverage through an employer or private coverage.

Although no federal laws specifically address custody, parental responsibility, visitation or time-sharing issues in military divorces, these issues are often made more challenging because service members’ obligations to their jobs require extra flexibility and creativity in creating parenting plans and time-sharing arrangements that will work for both parents as well as serve the best interests of the children.

Experienced Military Divorce Attorney

If you are a service member or the spouse of a service member and you have been served with divorce papers, it is very important that you consult with an attorney who is experienced in dealing with the various aspects unique to military divorces.

At Integrity Law, we are familiar with all branches of the military and can guide you to create a smoother process.

If you or someone you know needs legal assistance concerning a military divorce in Jacksonville Florida, call us today at 904-224-2100 or complete our form here.

Alimony in Jacksonville

alimony pen calculator

The dissolution of a marriage brings with it a number of emotional, psychological and financial challenges. The laws of Florida and the state’s court system are in place to ensure that those challenges—including the financial issues—are resolved in a way that is fair to all parties. This process includes the initial division of the marital assets to the potential long-term payment of alimony.

If you have questions about alimony, our attorneys at Integrity Law P.A. have the answers. Contact us today by calling (904) 224-2100 or by filling out our online form here.

Determining Alimony

Alimony refers to the money payments made from one spouse to another following a divorce. Both a husband or wife can be required to pay alimony and it may consist of a single lump-sum payment or a series of payments for months or years. When determining whether alimony payments are appropriate following a divorce, a judge will consider a variety of factors. In the State of Florida, these factors include:

      • The length of the marriage.
      • The standard of living maintained during the marriage.
      • The financial assets of each spouse.
      • The contributions of each spouse during the marriage (financial and non-financial) .
      • The financial obligations incurred during the marriage.
      • The amount of time expected for the non-employed spouse to enter the workforce/become financially independent.
      • The ability and need of each party.

It is important to distinguish between spousal support and alimony. When divorce proceedings begin, a temporary order of spousal support may be established to provide support to one spouse until a final settlement is reached. Alimony, on the other hand, is part of the final settlement. In virtually all cases, alimony payments will cease should the party receiving payments remarry.

Divorce is a difficult and often emotionally charged process. Despite the desire to see matters resolved as quickly as possible, it is important to remember that the terms reached during the process will have far-reaching consequences. If you are contemplating or beginning a divorce and believe that you may be entitled to alimony payments, you should contact a knowledgeable divorce attorney as soon as possible. Likewise, if you believe you may be responsible for alimony payments, you owe it to yourself to make sure that your rights and interests are protected.

Our attorneys at Integrity Law have helped hundreds of residents of Jacksonville, Florida area and are ready to guide you through your unique alimony process.

Contact us today by calling (904) 224-2100 or by filling out our online form here.

Parental Relocation

little girl divorce

After a divorce, both parties are typically ready to move on with their lives. When children are involved, however, the lives of the parents remain forever enmeshed. Both parents have a duty, as well as a legal obligation, to the child they share. This obligation involves both financial support and a commitment to be a physical presence in the child’s life. This can become problematic if the parent with whom the child resides looks to move out of the geographic area, specifically more than fifty (50) miles from their current address.

If you have questions about relocating with children after a Florida divorce, Integrity Law Firm, P.A., has answers. We have been helping residents of Greater Jacksonville for over 10 years. Contact us today by calling (904) 224-2100 or by filling out our online form here.

Can You Relocate?

The state of Florida has enacted a relocation statute, which outlines very specific procedures that must be followed when a parent is looking to relocate the child more than 50 miles away. In such cases, the parent must comply with one of the two following terms:

Relocation Agreement

When both parents (as well as any other parties with visitation rights) are able to come to a mutually acceptable arrangement regarding the relocation, they may file a written agreement to that effect with the court. The agreement must include consent for the relocation, specific details regarding visitation rights, and any relevant details regarding transportation arrangements for visitation.

Notice of Intent to Relocate

Absent a written agreement, a parent looking to relocate a child more than 50 miles from the current residence must file a Petition for Relocation with the court. This document must contain specific reasons for the proposed relocation. It also must include a proposed visitation schedule. If the other parent agrees, the relocation may proceed. If the other parent objects, a hearing will be held and the court will weigh all of the factors before making a decision based on what is in the best interests of the child.  There is not presumption for or against the relocation.

If you are a parent looking to relocate with your child to provide a better life for you and your child, an attorney with experience in family law and child custody can assist you with the Intent to Relocate and a hearing, should that become necessary.

Integrity Law Firm, P.A., has just such experience. If you are a parent faced with the possibility that your child may be moved away from you, it is critical that you understand your rights and your options.

For a consultation with one of our family lawyers in Jacksonville, Florida, contact the attorneys of Integrity Law Firm at (904) 224-2100 or via our contact form here. We are ready to help.