If you meet the residency requirements for a divorce in Florida, you can move forward with filing in the courts. One of the two parties to the divorce will need to file a form called the Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage. The spouse who files the form is the petitioner, and the other spouse is the respondent. After the form is filed, the petitioner must give a copy to the respondent. This is known as serving the divorce papers. If your spouse agrees to the divorce, he or she can accept the service of the papers. The spouse will then need to fill out and file a different form called an Answer and Waiver of Service, which must be signed and notarized before it is filed.
Matters may become more complicated if your spouse will not accept the service of the divorce papers. In this case, you can get the sheriff from the county in which your spouse resides to serve the papers to your spouse.
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This is done by paying to place an ad in a local newspaper assuming you can find one in the area where your spouse lives to alert your spouse that you are serving them with divorce. Within 45 days of filing your petition, Florida requires you to turn over a signed financial affidavit. This involves disclosing information about your finances, including:. Mediation may be ordered after you file for divorce.
During this process, a third party will attempt to help you and your spouse come to a divorce agreement without involving the court. Each side will present evidence and call witnesses, and a judge will make the final decision on all contested issues.
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Some divorces may be eligible for a simplified dissolution of marriage. This option does not require a financial disclosure and attorneys may not be necessary. To qualify for a simplified dissolution of marriage, you must meet the following criteria:. During a divorce proceeding in Florida, the court only divides marital assets and debts. For the purposes of a Florida divorce, the court considers any assets or debts acquired during the marriage by either party as marital assets.
The court does not divide separate assets, defined as property and money owned by only one of the spouses. Non-marital assets include anything that either spouse obtained before the marriage or anything that either spouse received as a gift or inheritance during the marriage. This does not include gifts between spouses.
Adding your spouse to the title of an item such as a car makes it marital property.
First, the court assesses the value of non-monetary property. The court will work with the couple to determine the value of their property. Experts like appraisers or certified public accountants CPA may be consulted to determine property value. In Florida, property must have an equitable distribution. The same would be true if marital funds were deposited to a pooled trust.
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In any case, when the court decides overall distribution of property, the court may consider the existence of an SNT, its size, and the sources of its funding. SSI payments cannot be garnished for the purpose of alimony or child support. Some individuals are surprised to learn that they are not eligible for SSDI on their own work record because their prior employment is not recent enough.
Not only must workers with disabilities have a certain number of quarters of employment based upon their age, but 20 quarters must be earned within the prior 10 years if the individual is over the age of The surviving ex-spouse must be at least 50 and married at least 10 years to the deceased ex-spouse. Remarriage after the age of 50 or termination of an earlier marriage will not affect eligibility for this benefit.
The benefits awarded to a divorced spouse do not reduce the benefits to which the primary worker and other dependents are entitled. The ex-spouse must be at least 60 and married at least 10 years to the deceased ex-spouse. Remarriage after the age of 60 or termination of an earlier marriage will not affect eligibility for this benefit. Medicare is important health insurance for individuals receiving SSDI or individuals and their spouses who are at least 65 and receiving Social Security retirement income, including divorced spouses.
Based on their work history, most individuals never pay premiums for Medicare Part A, which covers hospital expenses and limited skilled nursing home care. Part B covers doctor visits and durable medical equipment with a very affordable premium.
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If individuals are 65 and not eligible for social security retirement income, they may be eligible to purchase Medicare insurance, and there is a Medicaid program that can help with the cost of premiums for low income individuals. States differ in their approach to dividing marital property.
Accounts established to hold only SSI or other disability benefits would be exempt from property division. Such accumulated sums would, however, be considered by courts in equitable division states when determining overall property distributions.
When People with Disabilities Divorce
VA disability benefits may not be considered when dividing marital property. They may be garnished for pay spousal or child support, however, if the veteran waived a portion of retirement pay in order to receive nontaxable disability benefits.
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In any case, VA benefits are considered income when determining support obligations. Individuals with disabilities who are considering divorce should educate themselves about the potentially significant economic implications of dissolving a marriage.
Because specifics vary so dramatically from state to state, they should consult a local family law attorney who is experienced in, or who will retain co-counsel for, the complex nuances affecting individuals with special needs. About this Newsletter: We hope you find this newsletter useful and informative, but it is not the same as legal counsel.
A free newsletter is ultimately worth everything it costs you; you rely on it at your own risk. Good legal advice includes a review of all of the facts of your situation, including many that may at first blush seem to you not to matter. The plan it generates is sensitive to your goals and wishes while taking into account a whole panoply of laws, rules and practices, many not published. That is what The Special Needs Alliance is all about.
Contact information for a member in your state may be obtained by visiting the Special Needs Alliance online.