Family Law Attorneys in Jacksonville
At Edwards & Edwards, P.A., we assist clients with a wide range of family law matters. With more than 50 years of combined experience, we have what it takes to help you accomplish your legal, financial, and personal goals. From divorce to child custody, family law can involve highly stressful and emotionally charged events, which is why we provide compassionate, sensitive support along with tenacious representation.
We work hard to address all our clients’ concerns, including:
- Your children – child support and time-sharing plans that will place your children’s welfare at the forefront of your divorce
- Your finances – support and asset division plans that recognize the many contributions you made to your marriage
- Your future – legal and financial arrangements that protect the long-term independence, security, and wellbeing of you and your loved ones
No matter what type of family law issue you are experiencing, it is critical to be prepared and informed from the start. Our attorneys are ready to answer all your questions, help you understand your rights and options, and guide you through the complex legal processes you may need to undertake.
Fault vs. No Fault Divorce
Whether your proceeding is a fault divorce or no-fault divorce will dictate how challenging the process may be—and how long it could take.
A fault divorce requires one spouse to show that the divorce is the other spouse’s fault. One of the most common examples of fault is adultery. However, this type of divorce has largely been abandoned, and all states have now adopted the “no fault divorce” option. In other words, every state allows for the filing and granting of a divorce without requiring one spouse to demonstrate that the other spouse is responsible for the demise of the marriage.
Is Florida a No-Fault Divorce State?
Yes, the state of Florida is considered a no-fault divorce state.
Florida allows courts to grant divorce decrees based on evidence that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” meaning the marriage is beyond repair, and divorce is the only option. Courts also allow parties to divorce if one spouse was declared mentally incompetent at least three years prior to the filing of divorce. The basis that the marriage is irretrievably broken, however, is the much more common reason why divorces are filed and granted.
Division of Property in Florida
Florida courts will divide marital property under a principle known as equitable distribution. This is not to be confused with equal distribution, in which the court automatically splits all assets and liabilities down the middle.
The court will come up with an equitable (fair) distribution plan after assessing the following factors, and more:
- Economic circumstances of each spouse
- Duration of the marriage
- Contribution of one spouse to the career or educational opportunity of the other spouse
- The desires of each spouse to retain particular assets
Marital property includes, but is not limited to:
- Assets acquired/liabilities incurred during the marriage, either individually or jointly;
- The enhancement in value and appreciation of non-marital assets during the marriage; and
- Inter-spousal gifts received during the marriage.
An easy rule of thumb is to consider any property or debt incurred prior to marriage as non-martial, and any property or debts acquired after the marriage as marital. There may be exceptions to this general rule, however, and we can help you conduct a thorough assessment of all assets and liabilities.
Keep in mind that certain behaviors may influence the division of property. For example, if marital funds were used or depleted to fund an extramarital affair, the court may award the non-adulterous spouse additional property as compensation for the lost funds. Excessive gambling is another example in which the court may elect to give one spouse additional assets if the gambling spouse used or depleted marital funds to support their gambling habit.
In deciding whether to award alimony, the court will first determine whether either party has an actual need for alimony, as well as whether either party has the ability to pay that alimony.
If one party has a need for alimony and the other party has the ability to pay it, the court will then determine the type and amount of alimony after considering factors such as:
- The duration of the marriage
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The age of each spouse
- The physical and emotional condition of each spouse
- The earning capacity of each spouse
- Problematic behaviors like adultery or gambling
- The contributions of each spouse during the marriage (including homemaking, childcare, and career building of the other spouse)
Possible types of alimony include bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, permanent, or any combination of these forms of alimony. It may be paid in periodic payments or lump sums.
Time Sharing and Child Support
In Florida, child support is dictated by Florida Statute and is the product of a calculation using the combined net income of both parties, the number of children, the number of overnights, and health insurance and daycare costs.
Often, one parent believes the other parent is purposely remaining unemployed or underemployed to lower or avoid the child support obligation. If the court finds this to be true, the employment potential and probable earnings level of the parent (and, therefore, child support obligation) shall be determined based upon their recent work history, occupational qualifications, and prevailing earnings level in the community.
Child support might also deviate based on factors such as extraordinary medical or psychological expenses, the child’s age, special needs costs, and/or independent income of the child.
High-Quality, Compassionate Support
At Edwards & Edwards, P.A., our attorneys have over half a century of combined experience handling a wide range of legal matters. As a result, we have developed a multifaceted perspective that allows us to provide thorough, insightful counsel for each client. When you bring your family law matter to our firm, you can trust us to help you find the most effective way forward. We will prioritize your best interests and advocate for your rights every step of the way.
"Fantastic attorney and extremely personable"Ann Marie Martin
"They are very professional and make every effort possible to win your case. They explain very clearly what will need to be done and help you all the way."Severine Wider
"Amanda Edwards is professional and straight forward with you about your case. Would highly recommend her to anyone that needs assistance."Suzy McGuffin Smith
"Very diligent and attentive in any of the legal needs that I or my company have had."Lucas Kuchler
"Their commitment to each and every client is impressive. I've referred two individuals to them now and I have been thanked for doing so by both of them."Matt Igou
Over 50 Years of Combined Experience
Wide Range of Legal Services Available
Responsive to Client Communication
Sister-Owned Firm, Entirely Run by Women