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Divorce Litigation (Contested Divorce) FAQs

A divorce is “litigated” or “contested” when the spouses cannot agree on how to resolve the issues between them such as parental responsibility, timesharing, alimony, child support, division of assets and liabilities and attorney’s fees. In this situation, one of the spouses will file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the Court to begin the process.

Divorce litigation involves navigating the legal system to resolve the contested issues between spouses in their divorce case such as the division of assets and liabilities, spousal support (alimony), parental responsibility and timesharing, child support and attorney’s fees. It typically includes filing various documents with the court, preparing for and attending hearings where evidence is presented and testimony is taken, attending depositions and mediations, requesting and exchanging various documents and evidence, and ultimately attending trial, if necessary.

The duration of a divorce from start to finish can vary based on many factors such as the complexity of the case, how many issues are contested between the spouses, whether there are minor children of the parties, the Court’s availability to set hearings and trial in a timely manner, and whether the parties are willing to reach a settlement agreement on some or all the issues. At the very least, a litigated divorce in Florida will take several months to a year or longer.


Alimony in Florida is determined based on need and ability. Need is whether the spouse that is requesting the alimony needs financial support to be able to live and pay their bills. Ability is whether the spouse that would be paying the alimony has the ability to pay alimony based on their income and other factors.

The alimony law in Florida recently changed. Under the new law, the amount of an alimony award may not exceed the lesser of the payee spouse’s reasonable need or 35 percent of the difference between the spouses’ net incomes.

The alimony law in Florida recently changed. Under the new law, the length of an alimony award is limited based on the duration of the marriage, with certain exceptions. The length of an alimony award is different based on whether it is a short-term marriage, moderate term marriage and long-term marriage. Under the new law, there is no longer permanent alimony.

Alimony can be modified in amount and sometimes duration in certain circumstances depending on the type of alimony that was awarded. However, if a Marital Settlement Agreement was signed by the parties and it expressly states that alimony is non-modifiable, then alimony cannot be modified. There are certain factors that must be met in order to modify alimony such as a substantial change in income of one of the parties that was not contemplated at the time that the divorce was finalized.

Child support

Child support is calculated using a formula. This formula takes into account a variety of factors including the gross incomes of both parties, the number of children involved, the number of overnights that the children spend with each parent, and the amount of the children’s health insurance. The amount reduces as each child emancipates. The formula is displayed on a document called a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet.

Child support is paid until the children reach the age of 18. However, if by the time the children reach the 18 and they have not yet graduated from high school, then child support will continue until the children reach the age of 19. If they graduate after they reach the age of 18 but not yet 19, the child support stops when they graduate.

No, unless it is specifically outlined in the Marital Settlement Agreement or Final judgment, payments made directly to the child are considered voluntary contributions and credit is not provided unless specifically mandated by the Court or by agreement of the parties.

On the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet, there will be a percentage listed for the Mother and a percentage listed for the Father. Each parent is responsible to pay for the minor child’s out-of-pocket medical expenses based on their percentage listed on the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet, which is called their pro rata share. In certain circumstances, the parties may agree to another arrangement.

High net worth asset division FAQs

In Florida, marital assets are divided equally between both spouses unless a judge determines that an unequal distribution is justified based on certain circumstances. An unequal distribution of assets occurs when one spouse gets more assets than the other spouse in a divorce. One of the circumstances in which a marital asset may not be equally divided include dissipation of the marital asset on a spouses paramour in an extra marital affair.

Expert analysis plays a crucial role in cases involving high net worth asset division. Accurately valuing complex assets such as real estate, investments, business interests, and retirement accounts requires specialized knowledge. By engaging experts, such as forensic accountants or appraisers, the court can make informed decisions regarding the value and division of these assets. The experts can also determine which assets are pre-marital, if any.

Some of the best practices for dividing high net worth assets include:

  • Get professional help from an attorney who specializes in high net worth divorce.
  • Value each asset properly based on the type of asset that it is
  • Consider the tax consequences of the asset division.
  • Carve out the pre-marital portion of the asset, if any.
  • Be prepared for litigation, if necessary.

Parental Responsibility and Timesharing (Custody) FAQs

Parental Responsibility is the parents ability to make major decisions that affect the minor children such as where the children will go to school, medical care, and other aspects of the child’s life. Timesharing, which formerly was known as custody, is the time that the minor children spend with each parent. In a Florida divorce or paternity case, a Parenting Plan will be signed by the parties or entered by the Court, which will state the type of parental responsibility that the parents have, and a timesharing schedule for the parents and the minor children to follow.


Shared parental responsibility means that both parents have equal decision-making authority and must consult with each other when making major decisions. Florida defaults to shared parental responsibility in the vast majority of cases. Shared parental responsibility with ultimate decision making is when the parents first try to jointly agree on a major decision, such as where the children will go to school and if they cannot jointly agree, then the parent that has the ultimate decision gets to make the final decision on which school they will go to.

In general, it is rare for a parent to be completely denied timesharing unless there are serious concerns about the child’s safety or well-being. However, the court may impose restrictions on timesharing or require supervised visitation if it is deemed necessary to protect the child’s best interests.


If the parents of a child do not agree regarding the paternity of a child and do not sign a voluntary acknowledgement, establishing paternity requires the filing of a court case. The case can be filed by the mother of the child, the alleged father, the Florida Department of Revenue or a legal representative acting on behalf of the child.

Yes, paternity can be challenged in Florida. Either parent can file a legal action to challenge paternity within a certain timeframe and present evidence to dispute the established paternity.

In Florida, a man is automatically considered the legal father of any children born to his wife while they are married. If you aren’t married and you have a child, however, there is a good chance that you won’t be identified as the legal father unless you take steps to ensure you are. You can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity if you and the child’s mother agree that you are the father. If not, you can file a Paternity action to establish paternity.


Yes, child support can always be modified in Florida, so long as certain factors exist and are alleged in the modification action. In order to modify child support, there must be a substantial change in circumstances since the original court order or agreement was entered, such as a change in income of one of the parents.

Alimony can be modified in amount and sometimes duration in certain circumstances depending on the type of alimony that was awarded. However, if a Marital Settlement Agreement was signed by the parties and it expressly states that alimony is non-modifiable, then alimony cannot be modified. There are certain factors that must be met in order to modify alimony such as a substantial change in income of one of the parties that was not contemplated at the time that the divorce was finalized.

In most cases, yes. To seek a modification, you typically need to file a petition with the court and provide evidence supporting your request for a modification. The court will then review the case and make a decision.

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements FAQs

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can cover various aspects, such as:

  • Division of property and assets acquired before and during the marriage.
  • Allocation of debts and financial responsibilities.
  • Spousal support (alimony) terms.
  • Inheritance rights and provisions.
  • Protection of separate property.
  • Dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or arbitration.

No, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be beneficial for couples of varying financial situations. They allow couples to clarify financial expectations, protect assets, and provide peace of mind, regardless of the level of wealth.

There is no set timeframe of when a prenuptial agreement should be signed prior to the wedding. However, it is beneficial to begin the process well in advance of a wedding date for various reasons. One of the reasons is that the process of signing a prenuptial agreement often comes with many emotions for one or both parties, and it is important to handle those emotions and the process not too close to the wedding date, that way you can focus on the excitement of the wedding and not worry about the prenuptial agreement. Also, the closer that the prenuptial agreement is signed to the wedding date, the easier it is for one of the spouses to make the argument that they signed it under duress if one of the spouses tries to set aside the Prenuptial Agreement one day in the event of a divorce. However, this is by no means the deciding factor in one of the spouses having the ability to set aside the Prenuptial Agreement.

Uncontested Divorce FAQs

If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on certain issues, the divorce becomes contested. In such cases, you may need to seek legal assistance and potentially resolve the disputed matters through negotiation, mediation, or, if necessary, litigation in court.

While it is not legally required to have an attorney for an uncontested divorce, it is highly recommended. An attorney can provide valuable guidance, ensure that your rights are protected, help draft the necessary legal documents, and ensure that all legal requirements are met.

Collaborative Divorce FAQs

Collaborative divorce offers several benefits, including:

  • Greater control: Both spouses have more control over the outcome of the divorce, as they actively participate in the decision-making process.
  • Privacy: Collaborative divorce proceedings are generally confidential and take place outside of the public courtroom.
  • Reduced conflict: The collaborative process aims to minimize conflict, making it less stressful for both spouses and any children involved.
  • Customized solutions: Collaborative divorce allows for creative solutions tailored to the specific needs and interests of the family.

You can find a collaborative divorce attorney by contacting your local bar association or by searching online. If you are considering a collaborative divorce, contact Ostrovsky Law today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you achieve a successful resolution.

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