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Divorce can be a complicated matter for anyone. The process of dissolving a marriage can become significantly more complex if one of the spouses is a member of the military. This is because certain laws exist that apply to military marriages that do not apply to civilian marriages. The following is some information regarding military divorce in Florida.

Protection From Default

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protects a military member on active duty from divorce proceedings to which they cannot respond. Often, when a spouse refuses to respond to a divorce filing, the spouse requesting the divorce can file a motion for default and have the marriage dissolved. This could result in a military member coming back to the United States or Florida and being surprised that they are divorced. For this reason, the law allows the proceedings to be postponed for the duration of their active duty and for an additional 60 days if needed. If the military member is okay with the dissolution, they can waive their right to postpone the divorce.

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In recent months, a new trend related to divorce has been going viral on social media. Known as the “divorce selfie,” a photo will show couples together just after their divorce is finalized. Most couples who have posted these divorce selfies say that the photos are not intended to make light of divorce, but that they can serve many purposes to make post-divorce life easier.

First, if the divorced couple has kids and will share custody, these pictures demonstrate a united front and seem to indicate that the former spouses are willing to cooperate. Additionally, the photos can show family and friends that the couple is accepting of the dissolution of their marriage and still respect each other. This can make social interactions or events with mutual friends easier and less awkward in the future. While a divorce selfie will, of course, not solve all of the couple’s problems, it can represent a positive attitude toward the divorce process and moving on.

Cooperation Can Make the Divorce Process Easier

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With the recent breach and data leak regarding approximately 32 million subscribers to the “married dating” website Ashley Madison, many married couples have likely been facing difficult situations as news of possible infidelity became exposed. It would not be surprising, in fact, if numerous couples end up in divorce court over a leaked Ashley Madison subscription. This leads to the common question: What role, if any, does a spouse’s adulterous behavior play in a subsequent divorce case?

Questions of Fault

In Florida, you must file for divorce on a “no-fault” basis, which means that no specific reason–such as adultery–can be given for the divorce. Insteading of blaming one spouse, all divorces are based on the assertion that the marriage is irretrievably broken. For this reason, adultery has no effect specifically on basic questions of fault in a divorce.

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If you have decided to file for divorce or if your spouse plans to file soon, there are some steps you can take to not only make the process easier but also to protect your interests as much as possible. The following are only some examples of things you can do to improve your situation in this emotionally difficult time.

Get Your Finances Organized

If you get divorced, you will be on your own financially, whether or not you worked during your marriage. If you are awarded spousal support, it may likely only be for a limited amount of time. It is always wise to take inventory of your financial situation, including your income, debts, assets, and more to understand how much you will need to support yourself. If you are moving out, you will need to have a budget to know how much you will have to earn to cover all of your new bills and expenses on your own. Additionally, gathering and copying financial documents will make it easier when you have to present them during your divorce.

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In a divorce case, every individual wants to obtain a decree with the most favorable terms possible so that he or she may move on with financial stability and quality relationships with his or her children. Unfortunately, many people make mistakes during their divorce cases that hinder the outcomes. The following are only some of the errors that commonly affect the outcome of a divorce case.

Having unrealistic expectations — If you march into a courtroom demanding an exorbitant and unjustified amount of spousal support or sole custody of your children when shared custody is appropriate, your case may be affected in many ways. First, if you refuse to agree to reasonable terms, your case may be delayed and many issues may be placed into the hands of the family law judge, who may not find in your favor. An attorney can help provide a realistic view of the potential terms of your divorce decree.

Assuming your spouse will cooperate — Many people optimistically expect their spouse to be cooperative and fair when discussing and agreeing upon the many terms of their divorce. Unfortunately, the divorce process can incite a lot of negative emotions and many spouses become difficult and resentful before the divorce is finalized. You should never fail to have an attorney simply because you expect fairness from your spouse. Having the representation of an experienced divorce lawyer will ensure that you have the needed legal support if your spouse becomes unreasonable.

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Being convicted of a crime can have many adverse effects on an individual’s life and marriage. Crimes often involve deceptive behavior, which can lead to distrust between spouses, and jail sentences can separate spouses for an extended period of time. Understandably, these factors can all lead a spouse to file for divorce. Having a spouse in jail can cause complications for the divorce case, however, as one recent case out of Florida demonstrates.

Rothstein Divorce Finalized

Scott and Kim Rothstein were married in 2008 and lived a luxurious lifestyle. In 2009, however, Scott fled Florida for Morocco due to a federal investigation and the couple has been apart since. Scott was soon arrested and charged with allegations related to one of the most extensive Ponzi schemes ever to take place in Florida. Scott was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison. His wife, Kim, was also convicted of a felony for hiding jewelry from investigators and served a 15-month sentence. While her jail sentence was over in March, she had to wait until the end of July to have her divorce from Scott finalized.

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Mental incapacity plays an important role in many different family law matters. Cases alleging mental incapacity of one of the spouses can become complicated and adversarial. Because you cannot actually get into someone’s head and know what they were thinking at a particular point in time, gathering and presenting evidence of mental incapacitation can be complicated. The following are some examples of when mental capacity may be at issue in a Florida family law case.

Marriage

In order for a marriage to be valid, both individuals must be of sound mind, must understand the nature and effects of getting married, and must be mentally capable of agreeing to the marriage. Simply because one person has a mental condition does not automatically render them incapacitated for marriage purposes, but if a court decides one spouse did not have the capacity to agree to a marriage, that marriage will be deemed invalid.

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The Florida Department of Health released information recently indicating that, while the marriage rate in Florida is rising, the divorce rate fell to the lowest it has been in decades. Per every 100 marriages, there were 54 divorces finalized in Florida last year. This is the lowest divorce rate since 1960. In contrast, the number of marriages per year increased in 2014 for the first time after declining each year for the past ten years.

Divorce Rate in Florida Higher Than the National Rate

Even though the percentage of marriages that ended in divorce last year hit a long-time low, the divorce rate for the state of Florida is still higher than the rate for the entire United States. People are still filing for divorce on a regular basis and still face all of the legal issues that can be related to a divorce case. Only some of the legal issues in a divorce include as follows:

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Celebrity divorces can be difficult, not only because of extensive media coverage but also because one or both of the spouses may have a significant amount of wealth. In one recent divorce, a wife is attempting to obtain a large portion of her husband’s $85 million fortune as well as a large amount of additional ongoing support.

The wife of songwriter, singer, and successful music producer Timbaland filed for divorce at the end of June. She previously filed in 2013 though that case was dismissed as they attempted to reconcile. Apparently that attempt at reconciliation was not successful, as now she has not only filed again but requested many different types of financial support, including the following:

  • Child support for both their biological daughter and her son from a prior relationship
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During a marriage, a couple can amass a wide variety of assets and accounts. Additionally, they can take on a significant number of debts such as mortgages, loans, or credit accounts. Before a divorce can be finalized, a court must decide how these assets and debts are going to be divided between the spouses in accordance with Florida property division law. In order to do so, a court must be aware of all of the applicable financial accounts and properties that may exist. Therefore, spouses are required by law to submit Mandatory Disclosures regarding their finances within 45 days of the filing of the initial divorce pleading.

The following are financial documents that must be exchanged in mandatory disclosures:

  • Financial affidavits — A spouse can use a shorter form if their income is under $50,000 per year, though must use the long form if it is more than $50,000. Exchanging affidavits is mandatory in every case and cannot be waived.