At Sasser & Weber, P.A., one of our goals is to bring clarity to the often confusing, complicated process of getting divorced. We’ve assembled this list of FAQs to address the most common issues that concern our clients.
What should I expect during my initial consultation?
During the initial consultation, the attorney will gather information regarding your case so that we can jointly determine whether Sasser & Weber is a good fit for you. Whatever information you offer will be held in strict confidence, even if you decide not to become a client. Our first meeting is a big-picture conversation, where we get an overview of your goals and needs. We will discuss the various alternatives for resolution, whether that be using the collaborative or cooperative models or the traditional litigation model or some combination. Our attorneys will also offer you some advice about a general game plan that will help you in the weeks and months ahead. After our initial meeting, you should walk away with a much better sense of who we are, what we charge, and what you can expect going forward.
If my case goes to mediation, who makes the decisions?
In a word, you. Your divorce mediator is there to facilitate solution building, to brainstorm alternative solutions, to jumpstart the process when it gets stuck, and to encourage compromise. Your mediator serves as a buffer between you and your spouse, helping you stay focused even if negotiations get heated.
You can mediate with or without attorneys. The mediator will prepare an agreement for you to review and sign, based on the agreements you reach during the mediation process.
How can I get more information about our financial situation if I’m not sure where our money is?
This is a more common situation than you might expect: one spouse handles the finances, and the other is relatively “in the dark.” Your first course of action is to request documentation from your spouse, and contact banks, mortgage companies, credit cards, and other jointly held accounts in order to obtain account numbers and balances. If your spouse can’t or won’t provide this information, then there are tools at our disposal that will help chase the financial paper trail, including but not limited to court orders and forensic accountants.
Will I receive alimony? What about child support?
The short answer: maybe, and it depends. We understand that this isn’t very satisfying, so let’s talk quickly about the factors in that determine payments. Alimony is awarded based on both need and ability to pay: in the simplest terms, one spouse must need to be supported for a period of time to be determined by the courts, and the other spouse must be able to afford to support them. If there is no need, there is no alimony. In the state of Florida, the courts don’t want to see one party’s standard of living to precipitously decline upon divorce, while the other, higher-earning spouse maintains their standard of living. The longer you’ve been married and the more disparate your incomes, the more likely you are to receive alimony. Florida courts have wide latitude when it comes to awarding alimony, but based on our years of experience, we’re able to estimate how much you’ll have to pay, or how much you’ll be awarded. Unless the parties waive the right to modify, alimony can always be modified at a later time based upon a substantial change in circumstances, such as retirement at normal retirement age.
Child support is much more straightforward; the state of Florida publishes a calculator that takes into account your respective incomes, how many nights you care for your children, and how much you spend on child care and health insurance. Check it out here. Generally, child support ends when the child reaches the age of eighteen or graduates from high school if the child turns eighteen during his or her senior year.
How much will it cost to get divorced, and how long will it take?
A simple rule of thumb: the more things you and your spouse can agree on, the less expensive and time-consuming the divorce process will be. Also take into consideration the fact that complex financial cases will take longer, because unless the parties can reach agreement on a settlement, a business valuation will be necessary. The same advice applies to all aspects of divorce: timesharing, asset division, alimony. The more the parties can meet in the middle, the less the financial, time, and emotional expenditure for everyone involved.
Want answers to your specific questions? Contact us today or give us a call at (407) 896-0491 for a consultation to address your particular needs.
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