Experienced, Aggressive Orlando Attorneys Ready to Fight For You
Attorneys Jason Ponder, Jeana Vogel, Alberto Ayo, and Howard Iken are our Orlando divorce attorneys. We have combined experience in family law exceeding 20 years. If you are looking to retain an Orlando Divorce Attorney, we offer a free consultation for divorce, custody, support, and modifications. Our office is conveniently located in the Metrowest area, near Dr. Phillips.
Our Orlando office is fully staffed and is mainly devoted to divorce and custody cases. Both primary attorneys make frequent appearances in the Orlando family law courts.
The Orlando, Florida divorce court is handled primarily by a large group of judges. It is very important to retain an Orlando divorce attorney that is familiar with the local court and that appears in front of the local judges.
Our Orlando office is located off of Hiawassee, across from Turkey Lake Park. We are conveniently located in Metrowest. Consultations with our Orlando divorce attorneys are free. Call us today to schedule an appointment. We are looking forward to helping you with your situation.
The Law Firm of Ayo and Iken uses a team approach that:
- Handles your case in a team environment, with ample backup if the need arises
- Ensures that your attorney is equipped with the latest knowledge about divorce law
- Stays up to date on local procedure by participating in local family law legal events
- Gives you the support you need at this difficult time of your life.
Hiring a divorce attorney is the most stressful time of your life
You may be thinking of getting a divorce, modifying your divorce judgment, or enforcing your judgment. We can honestly say the next few months will not be the best time in your life. But we can make a difference for you. Your bad situation may become better if you hire the best divorce attorneys for your situation. We can help.
Our goal is to make the experience better. We offer more information. We have a dedicated team of divorce attorneys.
If you are in the midst of a divorce, or even contemplating divorce, it is a sure bet you know the road ahead is unlikely to be smooth. There are so many divorce-related issues which can become extremely contentious, and the decisions you make during your divorce can literally follow you for a lifetime. There will probably be times when you want nothing more than to simply walk away. At that moment you truly may not care whether you get your fair share of the assets, or whether you receive spousal support. Having an experienced Ayo & Iken divorce attorney by your side from start to finish allows you to step back from time to time, knowing your attorney has your back, and is still in there fighting for you and for your future.
Your Ayo & Iken attorney will have the necessary resources to ensure your divorce is handled in the most professional way possible. You may need forensic accountants if you feel your spouse is hiding assets, or professional appraisers for a high net-worth divorce. Or, perhaps your divorce is really fairly “normal.” Whatever your situation, having a highly skilled Orlando divorce attorney by your side can make a huge difference in the eventual outcome. Our attorneys have the experience, knowledge, dedication and drive to make your divorce as painless as possible for you, allowing you to step away from the fight now and then, knowing your future is in good hands.
Orlando City Information
Orlando may be most well-known for the array of theme parks in the area, however the city has a rich history dating back to 1838—the height of the Seminole Wars. Fort Gatlin was built just south of present-day Orlando, as a means of protecting settlers from attacks by the Native Americans. The original community which grew up around Fort Gatlin was known as Jernigan, however in 1856, the name was changed to Orlando. There are several different stories as to how the name Orlando came to be, but whatever the story, the name stuck. In 1873 Jacob Summerlin, the “Cattle King of Florida,” arrived, purchasing 200 acres of land in what is now downtown Orlando.
Shortly after he purchased the acreage, he noticed a sinkhole forming on the edge of the property—this sinkhole is now known as Lake Eola after Summerlin’s sweetheart. Today you will find Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, numerous water parks, Universal Studios and the Islands of Adventure, to name a few, making Orlando a prime tourist attraction. With a population edging toward 300,000, Orlando’s nickname is The City Beautiful, and, according to a 2009 Pew Research Center study, Orlando ranked as the fourth-most popular American city.
Divorce in Orlando, Florida
Although Orlando certainly is The City Beautiful, according to The Daily Beast, Orlando and ten other Florida cities had the dubious honor of making it into the top 50 cities where divorce is rampant. Three years later, another similar report also had two Florida cities in the top 5 for high rates of divorce (Tampa and Miami). Reports such as these would lead one to believe that living in the beautiful Sunshine State just might not be so good for a marriage.
Who Gets Divorced?
Interestingly, money may not buy happiness, but it may significantly lower the rate of divorce. Among those who make $97,000 or more, the divorce rate is about 17 percent, while among those making considerably less than that amount, or those who are unemployed, the divorce rate soars up as high as 52 percent. These figures are according to a study done by the Census Bureau, and even found that those with jobs such as scientists, actuaries, chemical engineers, surgeons and physicians had a much lower rate of divorce. Whether this was due to higher education or salary, is hard to say, however according to the same data, gaming managers have the highest divorce rate, followed closely by bartenders, flight attendants and telemarketers.
Grounds for Divorce in the State of Florida
Before you decide to file for divorce, you must ensure you and/or your spouse meet the residency requirements in the state. One of you must have lived in Florida for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. Next, you must determine the grounds for your divorce.
Many years ago, when a couple filed for divorce they were required to submit a reason for the divorce. That reason could be adultery, abandonment, drug abuse, or any number of other reasons. In 1970, California was the first state to introduce the no-fault divorce, and today all states except New York offer some form of no-fault divorce—although some states still offer certain grounds for divorce as well.
Although most recognize the benefits of no-fault divorce—primarily that it is less demeaning for both spouses—there is a bill before the Michigan Senate which is proposing removing no-fault divorce from the options for couples with children, or among couples in which one spouse does not want the divorce. Critics of no-fault divorce believe it makes divorce “too easy,” however in most situations when a couple reaches the point of divorce, it is probably better for all concerned if they are allowed to remove themselves from the marriage.
In the state of Florida, you can claim your marriage is irretrievably broken for a no-fault divorce, or you can claim your spouse is mentally incapacitated. If you claim mental incapacitation, you must offer proof of that fact with a statement by a judge that your spouse has been declared mentally incapacitated for a period of at least three years prior to the divorce.
Contested Orlando Divorce vs. Uncontested Divorce
While there are essentially two types of divorce—contested and uncontested—in fact a large number of divorces that begin as uncontested, soon are contested. Once assets begin to be divided, spousal support is discussed, and the issue of child custody arises, divorcing couples can usually find at least a few bones of contention. In a relatively small number of divorces (usually when there are no children involved, the marriage was of short duration, and there are few, if any assets to divide) a divorce could truly be uncontested, but, unfortunately, this is rare.
How Your Divorce Will Proceed
If you are the spouse filing for divorce, you will file a Petition for Dissolution. This Petition will be served to your spouse, and he or she will be given 20 days in which to file a response. If a response is not filed within that time period, an Orlando judge may grant you everything you have requested in your Petition. If you are the spouse being served with a Petition for Dissolution, then you should be aware of the 20-day limit for your answer to be filed. Your yo & Iken attorney will ensure all deadlines are properly met—yet another reason to have an experienced divorce attorney by your side from the moment your divorce begins.
Once the response to the original Petition for Dissolution is filed, discovery will take place, and both spouses will complete a financial affidavit. Interrogatories and depositions may take place, depending on the level of assets—and level of contention—involved in your divorce. If no settlement or agreement on child custody can be reached, the case will go to trial, and an Orlando judge will make decisions about your future, deciding on the division of assets, child custody, and spousal support.
Dividing Your Assets During Your Divorce
The state of Florida is an equitable distribution state rather than a community property state which basically means a couple’s assets will be divided fairly, based on a number of factors, while in a community property state a couple’s assets are divided right down the middle, regardless of any extenuating circumstances. Generally speaking, non-marital assets and liabilities acquired prior to the marriage will remain the sole and separate property of that spouse during a divorce. This is true unless the non-marital asset has been commingled with marital assets, in which case, a formerly non-marital asset might be considered a marital asset.
Marital assets can even include gifts from one spouse to another, so if your spouse gave you a Mercedes for your 40th birthday, do not assume the car is 100 percent yours if you are divorcing. Professional degrees are not considered marital property, however, a professional practice associated with the degree is considered marital property.
Your marital assets could include real estate, bank accounts, retirement accounts, intellectual property, businesses and business interests, cars, jewelry, guns, art, pets, other household items, stock options, and even accrued sick and vacation pay. Marital liabilities could include home mortgages, student loans, credit card debt, car loans, tax liens, and even loans from family members if taken out during the marriage.
During your divorce, the court will identify all marital and nonmarital property of the marriage, the marital property will be valued, then the property will be distributed. The marital property may be divided unequally in the state of Florida, so long as the end result is considered fair. The judge will consider:
- The contributions to the marriage by each spouse
- The length of the marriage
- Whether personal careers or educational opportunities were interrupted by one spouse to further the career or education of the other spouse
- The current economic circumstances of each spouse
- Whether there was any intentional dissipation of marital assets by one spouse or the other, and
- Certain other factors.
Spousal Support in Florida
A spouse who believes he or she is entitled to—or simply needs—financial assistance from their spouse after the divorce can request spousal support be awarded. While Florida is one of the few states which awards permanent spousal support, such support is generally not awarded unless the marriage has been one of long duration. Permanent spousal support could be appropriate for a spouse who did not work outside the home during the marriage and has been married from more than 17 years. Another instance when permanent spousal support could be awarded is when one spouse gave up his or her career or education in order to help the other spouse go to medical school, law school or other extended types of education.
Rehabilitative spousal support can be awarded in a marriage lasting from 7-17 years, and is meant to help the receiving spouse obtain the necessary training or education with a goal of acquiring a financially rewarding job. Durational spousal support is meant to provide one spouse with financial assistance for a specified length of time, and is generally used in marriages of short or medium duration.
Short-term spousal support (less than 24 months) can be awarded to one spouse to ease the transition from married life to single life. Temporary spousal support is meant to cover one spouse’s financial needs from the time the divorce is filed until it becomes final. Judges may also award lump-sum spousal support as a method of equalizing asset distribution.
Gay Marriage and Divorce
Although same-sex marriage is now legal, there is little guidance for judges in their approach to same-sex divorces, particularly surrounding spousal support and child custody issues. A same-sex couple may have been married for a significant amount of time, although they were married in another state, and may have been together for decades. Having an Orlando divorce attorney who is able to accurately interpret the laws in the state of Florida is essential to ensure all parties are treated fairly.
Types of Child Custody
Co-parenting issues are usually under the legal term of “parental responsibility,” in the state of Florida, rather than “custody.” Like most courts in the United States, the state of Florida will determine what is in the best interests of the child or children. There are two types of custody: Legal and physical. The children will primarily live with the parent who has physical custody, however, legal custody covers disciplinary, educational, medical and religious decisions made for the children, therefore one parent may have primary physical custody, while legal custody is shared.
A parenting plan must be in place which clearly details where the children will live when they will visit the other parent, when and how pickups and drop-offs will take place, and how holidays will be handled. Adoption is yet another issue in the state of Florida which requires the services of an experienced Orlando family law attorney. As with most family law issues, adoption proceedings are likely to have a more favorable outcome when there is an experienced Orlando attorney involved.
Why You May Need an Ayo & Iken Family Lawyer
When family issues such as divorce, adoption, restraining orders, issues related to domestic violence, custody and child support, spousal support, modifications of spousal or child support, establishment of paternity, and pre and post-nuptial agreements arise, having a knowledgeable Orlando family attorney who will fight for your rights makes a positive conclusion much more likely.
Divorce is the type of thing that can tear you apart inside if you let it. The best thing you can do for yourself is to make sure you’re able to speak with your wife or husband outside of the hoopla. The drama can get out of hand in court, so see if you can muster the possibility of creating a peaceful situation. You’d be surprised how much you can get done when you are able to compromise and remain friendly.
You can hire a divorce attorney in Orlando to step in and open the communication channels, so that you’re able to figure out how to make an agreement. Florida laws allow people to handle no fault divorces, so you don’t have to worry about your situation becoming adversarial, as long as you’re able to speak with each other.
Before you even file your petition, you have to pass the resident requirements, which in Florida is a six month timetable. A divorce attorney in Orlando can handle this line of business for you, and will help you fill out the petition together, so that both of you are on the same page.
Our divorce attorneys know divorce laws of the state and will make sure that you two can get the peaceful resolution that you both desire. Just because the relationship is over doesn’t mean that you and your spouse can’t take care of the business matters of divorce. You’ll have even more help at your disposal when you let a divorce attorney mediate