A divorce decree ends a marriage. A judge usually issues a divorce decree as the final order in a divorce case.
The divorce decree, also known as the judgment of dissolution, addresses all of the issues in the divorce and returns the spouses to the legal status of single and unmarried.
Issues Resolved in a Divorce Decree
A divorce is a legal proceeding to end the legal rights and obligations that come with marriage. Courts will not force couples to live in a broken marriage. In Florida, courts will grant a divorce if at least one spouse has lived in Florida for six months and a spouse asserts that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
The divorce will resolve the following primary issues between the spouses.
In Florida, the term “child custody” is somewhat outdated. Instead, Florida uses the terms “parenting” and “time-sharing” to describe the parent-child relationship after the divorce. The divorce decree will include a parenting plan that the court has approved.
This plan will cover many aspects of each parent’s child-rearing responsibilities, including:
Living Arrangements for Children
The divorce decree will state where the child will live and how much time each parent will have with the child. Florida does not have a presumption that favors equal time with each parent. However, Florida does favor each parent sharing the responsibility for raising the child.
Decision-Making for Children
The decree will set out how the parents will make decisions in the child’s life about things like:
Sports and other activities
Most parenting plans give the parents an equal role in decision-making for the child.
Florida has guidelines for child support. The guidelines give a default amount based on the parents’ combined net income and the number of children in the family.
The court does not need to follow the guidelines rigidly. But the court cannot typically deviate from the guidelines by more than 5% unless following the guidelines would create an unjust outcome given the circumstances.
When dividing a married couple’s property, courts in Florida seek equitable property distribution. In broad terms, this means that the court will lean toward an equal property division. But the court can order an unequal property division in some situations.
Some of the factors that a court might consider include:
Contributions during marriage
Interest in a family business
Deferral of opportunities
Based on these and other factors, the court will decide how to divide the couple’s property in the divorce decree.
A court will not order spousal support or alimony in every divorce case. But the court can examine the facts to determine whether the situation justifies temporary or permanent alimony.
A court can consider the standard of living during the marriage and the resources of each spouse to determine if spousal support may be appropriate. The divorce decree will set out any alimony amounts and the duration of time that payments will apply.
What Happens After the Divorce Decree?
Although a divorce decree ends a marriage, it does not necessarily end the relationship. You may need to modify the orders if circumstances change. For example, an ex-spouse may lose their job and need to adjust their spousal or child support payments. Or, an ex-spouse may desire to move and wish to adjust the terms of child custody.
To accommodate those changes, you and your lawyer can reach an agreement with your ex-spouse. If you cannot reach an agreement, you can petition the court to modify the divorce decree.