Getting a divorce in Florida

Sarasota Divorce Lawyers Aggressively Protecting Your Interests During a Divorce.

There are times when a couple is unable to work through certain differences, overcome major problems, or a crisis; unfortunately this can cause their quality of life, and the emotional and mental health of the couple and other family members, such as their children to start to deteriorate. At that point it may be necessary to make permanent changes, and this may mean divorce. Our team understands how difficult these situations are and we stand by our clients to help them protect their interests and move forward with their lives.   

Our compassionate divorce lawyers are here to help you move forward:

Divorce is usually accompanied by high stress and emotional turmoil, making it harder for the parties to be able to negotiate and reach a mutual reasonable agreement. And without proper legal guidance and understanding of Florida family law mistakes can be made and cases can become unnecessarily expensive, legally complex, and emotionally charged, with all of this often leading to a less favorable outcome. Having an experienced and reliable lawyer by your side can help you see things more clearly and move forward objectively and constructively.    

Having competent representation in divorce cases can make the difference between more advantageous results or potentially losing your assets, income, and time with your children. 

Divorce may cloud your judgement, but it won't cloud ours.

 At the Kowtko Law Group. P.A. we focus on developing customized case strategies centered on each individual client’s needs and expectations, and we are prepared to provide you with the high-quality representation you need and deserve. 

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Florida Laws Regarding Alimony

Our Divorce Lawyers Have Experience Helping Couples Work Through Alimony & Spousal Support Issues.

Having an attorney and law firm by your side which understands the requirements and nuances of alimony law can make the difference in ensuring your rights are fully protected. Our firm is well versed in using the appropriate statutory factors in setting up cases to achieve the best result regarding alimony.

 Alimony is designed to help spouses maintain the standard of living they had during the marriage, including covering their necessities and helping them transition into their new single life. The length and amount of alimony that a spouse may be entitled to or required to pay depends on the length of the marriage, the income of the parties during a marriage, the potential income of the parties after the divorce, among many others.  

Types of alimony permitted in Florida: 

  • Bridge-the-gap – Intended to help the lower-earning spouse transition into their new single life, as well as to help cover living expenses during divorce proceedings, this alimony is usually limited to no more than two years. 

  • Rehabilitative – Like bridge-the-gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony helps one of the divorcing parties to transition back into work. However, rehabilitative alimony is to provide finances to obtain educational or training to gain better employment. There are strict requirements to claim rehabilitative alimony.

  • Durational – Generally durational alimony does not exceed the length of the marriage, and it is intended to help the lower-earning spouse transition into their new single life, as well as to help cover living expenses during divorce proceedings, this alimony is usually limited to no more than two years. 

  • Temporary – Before the judge awards a permanent alimony award, the lower earner may receive temporary alimony to help them during the court proceedings. 

  • Permanent – Generally, permanent periodic alimony will continue until the death of either party, re-marriage of the recipient or cohabitation to the extend it reduces the living expenses or the receiving party. Permanent periodic alimony can be modified under certain circumstances. 

How do Florida courts determine alimony?

The Courts, first and foremost, are required to determine whether the requesting party has the need for alimony; in most circumstances, this means whether the requesting party is able to afford the basic necessities, including food and housing, but can include the living standard of the parties during the marriage. If the Court then determines that the requesting party has the need for alimony, the Court must determine whether the other party has the ability to pay alimony, if so, how much the paying spouse can afford. 

Our Sarasota divorce lawyers are here to help you protect your financial future.

Our Sarasota divorce lawyers are here to help you protect your financial future.

Parental responsibility & Time-sharing (child custody):

Our Lawyers are here to Help Defend your Rights and Protect your Relationship with your Children.

The term “child custody” is no longer used in current Florida law, instead it is referred to as “time-sharing”. And "parental responsibility" is the term used to describe which parent has the authority to make decisions for the child or children. Florida courts default and presume that both parents share the responsibility for making decisions for the children as it is widely accepted that having both mother and father involved in a child’s life is in the child's best interest. Rarely do courts award "sole parental responsibility” which means one parent has the responsibility to make all the decisions for the child alone, without the other parent’s involvement. This usually happens if the courts find that there is a detriment to the child for both parents to share parental responsibility. However, the court can still award time-sharing with the other parent as parental responsibility and time-sharing are treated as different issues. 

Time-sharing (Visitation): 

Time-sharing is the term used to discuss how the children spend time with each parent, Florida law does no longer use the term “visitation”.  According to Florida law both parents are presumed to be able to “share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of child-rearing.” Time-sharing is usually stipulated in a parenting plan which can be agreed upon between the two parents either through negotiation or mediation. If the both parents are unable to agree on a parenting plan a Florida family judge will create and enter a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule the courts deem is in the best interest of the child, which may include that children have regular and ongoing contact with both parents.  Additionally, all cases involving children are required by Florida law to attend and complete a state approved parenting class before the judge can enter a final judgement of dissolution of marriage. 

Parenting plans:

Parents with minor children who are divorcing will need to have a parenting plan. According to Florida law, both parents are supposed to “share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of child-rearing.” Divorcing spouses can create a parenting plan together either by negotiation or mediation, once parents have agreed upon a parenting plan it will be filed with the courts for the judge’s final approval. 

What’s in a parenting plan: Florida has specific court approved parenting plans; parenting plans have to include: 

- How the parents will share the daily chores and responsibilities related to raising their child/ children.

- Which parent will be responsible for completing school and health care paperwork, among others.

- Which forms of communication will be used for each parent to communicate with his/ her children. 

- A time-sharing schedule, outlining when each parent will spend time with the child or children.

Our experienced family lawyers can help you negotiate a parenting plan or make your case in front of a family judge.

Our Sarasota family lawyers are here to help you protect your children.

Our Sarasota family lawyers are here to help you protect your children.

our Sarasota family lawyers are here to help you

Litigious Divorce

Litigation occurs when the parties cannot settle the case among themselves and a judge is required to resolve issues in dispute. This may require the parties to hire outside professionals to present expert opinions and      testimony outlining the reasons why the Court should rule in one party's  favor.  As such, litigation is often a risky and lengthy endeavor. 

Collaborative Divorce

A divorce where all the parties make a fair and honest team effort to resolve all of the financial and parental (if applicable) issues without relying or turning to the      Court. By taking the collaborative approach, the divorcing parties can often save themselves not only extensive costs associated with preparing for trial but also the substantial stress that can accompany trial. 

Distributing Marital Assets

Florida law prescribes that marital property (usually property earned or purchased during the marriage) be split evenly between the two parties. This typically means assets including but not limited to bank accounts, residential homes, businesses, investment properties/homes, retirement accounts and pensions, are all subject to being split equally. 

Domestic Violence

  It is very important to be properly represented at domestic violence injunctions as accusations or judgments can have a significant impact on your divorce, child custody or paternity case, your employment, and future. Whether the threats are verbal or emotional,  judges take these actions very seriously.  Whether you are the victim or the defendant our family lawyers have extensive experience dealing and defending domestic violence cases.  

Child Support

  In Florida child support is a right of the children, however establishing and modifying child support can become a complex matter. Our attorneys are very familiar with Florida child support laws and can guide you through this process, ensuring that each parent's obligation is proper and fulfilled in a timely manner.    

Relocating with Children

 When an important life change happens such as an offer for a better job, or a divorce, one parent may need to move more than 50 miles away from the last address established with the court. If the parents are unable to agree with the move, the moving parent will need to obtain permission from the court by proving that the move is in the best interest of the child. Our family attorneys can help you make your case in proving to the court why moving is in the best interest of the child.