Diligently Advocating for Families in Cape Coral and Fort Myers
Family relationships are defining, pivotal bonds that make us who we are. They can also unfortunately be the source of contentious disputes with life-changing stakes. Many of these conflicts will need to be settled in a courtroom, and you will need a dedicated representative to ensure your interests are protected.
At Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, we have helped local families navigate their most difficult moments for over 40 years. Our Naples family lawyers are known for their compassionate yet results-oriented representation in handling matters of divorce, child support, spousal support, child custody, property division, adoption, and domestic violence. We will work closely with you throughout the legal process and always push for what is best for your family. Our goal is to make these proceedings as comfortable and painless as possible while making every effort to achieve your objectives.
If you are preparing to go through a divorce or need help modifying an existing order, schedule an initial consultation by calling (239) 908-4930 or contacting us online. Se habla español.
How Divorce Works in Florida
Divorce is never easy, and disputes over the terms of the separation only make things harder. You need sound legal advice and representation to ensure your rights are honored.
Florida is a no-fault divorce state, meaning it does not require spouses to specify a particular reason for the divorce. A divorcing couple can simply specify the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
In any divorce, the following key issues must be addressed and decided:
- Child Custody. Florida recognizes two types of custody: physical custody and legal custody. A child lives with the person with physical custody, while a parent with legal custody gets input into how the child is raised. Judges make custody decisions based on what they believe to be in the best interest of the child and will evaluate a wide range of factors in making this determination, including any history of domestic violence and each parent’s current relationship with the child. The parent that does not get primary physical custody generally gets regular “parenting time,” or visitation, that the custodial parent must honor.
- Child Support. Both parents are responsible for financially supporting their children, but the non-custodial parent is typically required to make child support payments to the custodial parent. Child support amounts are usually determined via state formulas, but there are exceptions under certain circumstances.
- Spousal Support. Spousal support, also called alimony, is not guaranteed in Florida. It is only granted if one spouse demonstrates a legitimate need and if the other spouse has a proven ability to pay. The judge may consider granting alimony based on several factors, including the couple’s standard of living during the marriage, each spouse’s financial circumstances, and the length of the marriage.
- Property Division. Florida uses “equitable division” rules when dividing property, meaning you should not expect a 50/50 split of marital assets. The judge will assess the facts of the case and make decisions based on what they believe to be fair.
Divorces can be contested or uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree on all terms of the separation, including how property will be divided, who will get custody of any minor children, and who (if anyone) will pay spousal support. Uncontested divorces have accelerated timelines and will not require much court involvement.
The reality is many divorces are contested, meaning there is at least one disagreement that cannot be solved without court intervention. In addressing each conflict, a judge will hear arguments, review evidence, and rely on state law to make decisions. If you know your divorce will be contested, it is important to have a capable legal representative by your side. Our Naples family law attorneys have extensive experience and understand how to strategically approach these cases.
Modifying a Divorce Order in Florida
One downside to litigating a divorce is a judge’s decisions are binding, meaning you must abide by them once they are issued. When you attempt to mediate divorce-related disagreements, you have a greater degree of control over the outcome and can always walk away if you are not satisfied with the result. However, divorce orders are not permanently set in stone.
You cannot appeal a divorce order involving child custody, child support, or spousal support just because you disagree with the decision. You can petition to modify a Florida divorce order if there has been a substantial change in circumstances that warrants a change. Because there is a good chance your former spouse will object to your proposal, you should not attempt to modify a divorce order without assistance from our Naples family lawyers. We can review your goals, evaluate your changed circumstances, and advise whether you have a strong case.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are contracts used to determine what will happen to a married couple’s assets in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements are signed before a marriage, while postnuptial agreements are signed during a marriage (but before a divorce). These agreements are legal in Florida but cannot affect child custody or child support. They can only influence property division and spousal support.
A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement also may not be enforceable in Florida if:
- Both spouses did not voluntarily sign the agreement
- One spouse was coerced or pressured into signing the agreement
- The agreement is unfair because one spouse did not fully disclose their financial circumstances to the other spouse (except in circumstances where a spouse waives their right to a financial disclosure)
At Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, we regularly deal with divorces of all complexities, including those involving these contracts. Our team can assist you if you are seeking to enforce or challenge a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
You do not have to go through a divorce alone. Call (239) 908-4930 or contact us online to discuss your situation with our legal professionals.
No Fees Until We WinWe offer Free Consultations, and work on Contingency Fees for Personal Injury cases. This means we ask for nothing from you until your injury case is concluded.
Prioritizing Your Experience
As a member of our community, we want to put your needs first, far ahead of the bottom line. We treat our clients like people, and never just like cases.
In Practice Since 1982We at Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano have been in practice for 40 years, which means you can count on our skill, experience, and community value to help you through your case.
"Answering all my questions and making me feel very important."Shannon D.
"Highly recommend."Rebecca M.
"There isn't enough stars for me to give."Lynn E.