Divorce Lawyer in Stuart
Compassionate Stuart divorce attorneys representing the Treasure Coast
Divorce and other family law issues are fraught with emotion, and it is easy to fall prey to poor judgment during these difficult times. The last thing you need is to choose an inexperienced Stuart divorce attorney who makes critical mistakes in your case that lengthen the process, cause disputes and increase your legal costs. You need a lawyer who is compassionate toward your situation yet smart and aggressive when it counts. Your best bet to achieve that end is to obtain the legal services of Stuart family lawyer Leanne L. Ohle.
Family law cases we handle
At Leanne L. Ohle, P.A., we focus on resolving a wide range of family issues, many of which are related. These scenarios include the following:
- Divorce: Divorce is not based on fault in Florida. This means that either party can choose to legally end the union if there is no chance of reconciliation. The divorce must be either handled between the two parties or litigated with the help of a divorce lawyer, and the latter is usually necessary when issues such as child custody, child support and distribution of large assets are at play.
- Child Custody: In Florida, custody of children under the age of 18 is typically shared between the parents unless this would prove detrimental to the children. The court looks at several factors when determining custody and bases the decision on what is best for the child's emotional and physical needs.
- Child Support: Strict state guidelines are in place for child support amounts based on the incomes of the parents, and payments continue until the child reaches the age of 18. Child support also encompasses health insurance coverage and out-of-pocket medical expenses for the child.
- Paternity: This type of case establishes the legal father of a child so that child support and parental time-sharing arrangements can be negotiated and enacted. Either the father or the mother of the child can make a paternity action, and parentage is typically proven with DNA testing.
A compassionate lawyer on your side
Divorce attorney Leanne L. Ohle is a dedicated advocate who approaches every case with compassion and commitment to professional excellence. While she deals with legal processes every day, she never forgets that her clients are often intimidated and uncomfortable with lawyers and courts. This is why she takes the time to answer your questions honestly, letting you know with straightforward language what you can expect during each stage of the legal process.
Proudly representing Palm City and Stuart
Finding the right family law attorney in Stuart is essential to help you uphold your legal rights and obtain what is fair. For divorce attorneys who will work tirelessly to ensure that your voice is heard, contact Leanne L. Ohle, P.A. today to schedule your legal consultation in Palm City or Stuart, Florida.
How long will it take to get a divorce?
No simple answer exists to this question. Variables, such as disputes between splitting spouses, child custody and even the availability of court dates, influence the time frame of a divorce. An uncontested divorce with easily resolved issues may be wrapped up in roughly 3 months. However, many divorces have some contested elements that require the parties to negotiate, mediate or litigate in some way. The divorce time line then may extend to 1 to 2 years.
What is the difference between an uncontested and contested divorce?
The two parties in an uncontested divorce are not hindered by disagreements about how to dissolve their marriage. They come to terms and process the legal filings. As a result, an uncontested divorce is naturally quicker and less costly. On the other hand, a contested divorce involves working through disagreements regarding asset division, child custody, child support and/or spousal support. Physical or emotional abuse may also be an issue during a contested divorce. The representation of a divorce attorney can be especially important when an abuse survivor needs to overcome the threats and intimidation of a former partner who is pushing for an unfair divorce settlement.
How do I start a divorce in Florida?
As a Florida resident for at least 6 months, you can initiate a divorce by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the appropriate family court in your area. If you qualify and desire to do so, you may file the Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. The petition must state that the marriage is "irretrievably broken." It also sets forth your initial claims regarding division of property and debts, child custody, child support and possibly spousal support. After filing the petition with the court, your spouse must be served the divorce papers before proceeding to the next steps.
Can I file for divorce in Florida if my spouse left the state?
As long as you can prove that you have been a Florida resident for at least 6 months, you may petition for divorce even without your spouse in the state. Although your state residency grants Florida the legal authority to dissolve your marriage, your spouse's residency elsewhere removes the state's jurisdiction over matters related to distribution of marital assets or payment of spousal support. The advice of a divorce attorney may help you understand the limitations and make decisions that promote your needs.
When would Florida have jurisdiction in a divorce with an out-of-state spouse?
When couples split, sometimes one of the people move out of state. This situation does not always prevent Florida from having jurisdiction over the terms of the divorce filed within the state. A couple that maintained a marital home in the state would be subject to Florida jurisdiction. Serving the divorce papers on the spouse when he or she is physically in the state activates jurisdiction as well. An out-of-state spouse may also waive the right to contest jurisdiction.
How is marital property divided?
Financial issues are a large concern for people getting divorces. State law calls for an equitable distribution of marital assets. In some cases, equitable might mean equal, but a fair distribution that is not fully equal may result in other cases. Splitting spouses have the option to work out the division between themselves and according to their preferences. However, unresolved disputes could end up before a judge, who will rule based on the principle of equitable distribution. Property owned prior to a marriage may be excluded from divorce property division. Other factors, such as a spouse interrupting a career to care for children or paying for the other spouse's education, can influence the division as well.
Does Florida require the payment of alimony?
State law does recognize that alimony, also known as spousal support, is appropriate in some divorces. Depending on the economic circumstances of the marriage, either party regardless of gender may have to pay the other alimony. The divorce settlement will establish whether alimony is paid as a single lump sum, in payments over a predetermined period of time or as an ongoing and permanent payment obligation. Legal support can be very important for a person pursuing spousal support or contesting demands for unjustifiable levels of support.
How can I get a divorce if I don't know where my spouse is?
State law asks that people conduct a good faith search to locate an absent spouse prior to filing for divorce. A diligent search will include making inquiries at the Department of Motor Vehicles and asking family and friends for information about a spouse's whereabouts. Publication of a notice in a newspaper regarding the upcoming divorce filing is also necessary. These efforts should eventually locate your spouse. Finding your spouse is important so that person can be served with divorce papers. This is essential before a court can move forward with the division of property.
How is marital property defined?
Any assets acquired by a married couple during the marriage and prior to the divorce filing will likely be counted as marital assets. These include real estate, retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, businesses, vehicles, jewelry and much more. Some assets may require a professional appraisal to determine current value before the parties can proceed with division. The sums in the spouses' checking and savings accounts are subject to division as well. Debts also comprise part of the marital estate, and loans incurred during a marriage often obligate both spouses to repay them.
What makes an asset nonmarital?
Although marriage combines the financial lives of two people, the law may not view all assets as marital and therefore subject to division in divorce. Someone who owned an asset before the marriage and who kept it separate from the marital estate could designate the asset as nonmarital. Gifts from third parties, including an inheritance, may be an individual asset as long as it was not mingled with marital assets. Earnings after filing divorce papers are generally exempt as well. The deciding factor on many questions revolving around the designation of marital or nonmarital is often whether or not the funds or assets were co-mingled with marital assets. For example, an inheritance deposited into a joint marital account may transform it into a marital asset.