Stephen T. Holman, P.A.
Free Initial Consultations
florida 850-316-8243
toll free 866-331-5998
Pensacola Florida Attorneys Committed to Our Clients

Pensacola Family Law Blog

7 Myths About Florida Divorce

There is a great deal of misinformation about how divorce works in Florida. This can cause people undue stress or lead to problems during the divorce process. Here are 7 of the most persistent myths about Florida divorce and the truth behind them:

Court rules that divorce cannot be grounds for termination

Going through the dissolution of a marriage can be a difficult time. For many spouses, fears about their financial stability, child custody matters and other issues can create a significant burden of stress. Few Florida residents, however, fear losing their job based on the fact that they are going through a divorce. That issue was recently addressed by one state's Supreme Court, and the resulting ruling could provide a sense of relief to some Florida workers.

The case centered on a man and woman who were both employed by a county Rescue Squad. The husband had entered into an affair with a volunteer at work, and his wife eventually found out about the indiscretion. When it became clear that the marriage was headed for divorce, both the husband and wife separately approached management to discuss the matter. At that time, the man was told that there was no guarantee that the matter would not affect his employment, and that they would have to "wait and see" how things progressed.

Establishing parental rights as an unwed father

Plenty of children are born every year in Florida to parents who are not married. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. For fathers, though, it is important to take certain steps to establish parental rights.

When two people are married and a child is born, the simple fact that the couple is married means that paternity is automatically established. For parents who are not married -- even if the couple is in a long-term committed relationship -- paternity is not a given. This can become particularly problematic if the couple breaks up and the mother tries to limit the relationship between the child and the father.

How information can make it easier to navigate divorce issues

Moving from married to single is a process, one that has a distinct beginning, middle and end. While it can feel as though this process is never-ending, most divorce cases will eventually reach a conclusion. Florida spouses have a great deal of control over how that process will go and should take a proactive role in partnering with their attorney to handle various divorce issues as they arise.

One of the most impactful ways that a spouse can participate in his or her own divorce is to prepare an overview of the personality traits of their soon-to-be ex. This information should be shared with one's divorce attorney, who can use it to create a strategy for negotiations and timing. While an attorney is well-versed in the state's laws that govern divorce issues, he or she knows nothing about the personality quirks of the other party to that action.

Child custody case leads to outrage among many

An unusual and controversial custody battle has resulted in a  win for one mother who has been fighting with the state to regain custody of her daughter. The child custody case centers on a teenage girl with severe medical and behavioral problems that require professional care. Her mother adopted her at the age of five, and was fully aware of her special needs. In fact, those needs were the very reason behind the woman's desire to provide the child with a loving home, which is also the case for some Florida families who have opened their hearts and homes to special needs children.

Unfortunately, the girl began having severe violent outbursts, and the mother had to resort to calling the police on multiple occasions. She took the child to the hospital to try and get the proper level of care. However, social workers felt that the mother's decision to leave the teen in hospital care was a form of neglect. The state then took steps to remove the child from her mother's care.

Dividing property: Options for the family home

The family home has both sentimental and financial value. For many couples in Florida, it is their largest shared asset. They likely invest a great deal of money into their home and, in many cases, time and effort spent on its upkeep. When couples are dividing property during the divorce process, they must decide how to handle splitting the couple's interest in the house.

There are several options. Many couples choose to sell the house and divide the profit. While this is the easiest in some senses, there may be complications. For example, if a divorce happens when the housing market is poor, there may be difficulty selling the house. In some cases, renting the house until the housing market improves is a viable option.

What Governor Scott's Veto Of Bill SB 668 Means For Family Law

A recent piece of legislation calling for dramatic changes to Florida alimony and child custody rules was recently shut down by Governor Rick Scott, despite having passed the Senate and the House. So where does that leave Florida residents going through a divorce or child custody dispute?

Planning ahead for summertime child custody battles

For many divorced parents, summer break is a time filled with contention and strife. Arguments about how to schedule activities around the existing child custody arrangement can define the entire summer, making things harder for both parents and children. There are ways that Florida parents can work to reduce this tension and enjoy what should be weeks of fun, relaxation and family bonding.

One thing that can make a world of difference is dealing with the summer schedule long in advance of the end of the school year. By working out the kinks ahead of time, both parents have the chance to create their own summer schedules and make sure that they are able to spend plenty of time with their kids. This also provides plenty of opportunity to negotiate, and for parents to swap weekends or weeks in order to make the schedule work for everyone.

Conflict, not military divorce, can impact many children

For most Florida military parents, the decision to end their marriage is not an easy choice to make. Parents worry that their kids will suffer from a fundamental change in the family's structure. In fact, many couples will remain together for many years after the union is effectively over in order to give their kids what they believe is a stable life. Research suggests, however, that conflict within a family can have a serious negative impact on kids, even more so than a military divorce.

When parents cannot live together in a loving and supportive environment, kids pick up on the negativity that exists within their household. They are all too aware of conflict between their parents, even when the adults try to shield the kids from debates or arguments. At least one study looks at the divorce rate among people whose parents remained married despite significant tension within the family home. Those kids grew up to experience their own divorce cases at a rate higher than that of kids who went through a divorce during their childhood.

Congress considering change to military divorce rules

When most Florida couples end their unions, any retirement savings that have been earned or accumulated by either spouse are subject to division. For some couples, negotiating that division is a significant portion of the property division process. Once the terms have been reached and the divorce made final, any retirement savings that will be divided are usually removed from one party's account and rolled over into the other's.

For military families, a different approach is taken. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act provides guidelines for the division of retirement benefits. Under that law, military spouses who go through divorce are entitled to a share of the retirement savings earned by their former husbands or wives. The difference is that the value of those savings is not divided at the time of divorce. The retirement account is allowed to grow over time until the service member is ready to retire and make use of those funds.

STH | Stephen T. Holman, P.A. STH | Stephen T. Holman, P.A.

Stephen T. Holman, P.A.
1940 W. Saint Mary Avenue
Pensacola, FL 32501

Phone: 850-435-6909
Toll Free: 866-331-5998
Fax: 850-435-9234
Pensacola Law Office Map

Free Parking
Accessible Office

Pensacola Office
P.O. Box 13324
Pensacola, FL 32591
Phone: 850-435-6909
Toll Free: 866-331-5998
Fax: 850-435-9234
Map and Directions

Flexible Appointments
Free Consultations