Archive: March 2024

March 28, 2024

Understanding Equitable Distribution in Florida Divorce Cases

Divorce proceedings often involve complex discussions and negotiations surrounding the division of marital assets and debts. In Florida, these matters are guided by the principle of equitable distribution, which seeks to ensure a fair and just allocation of shared property between spouses. Understanding the factors considered in equitable distribution, the difference between marital and non-marital assets, and the legal intricacies of this process is crucial in advocating for a favorable outcome.

In this article, we will delve into the nuances of equitable distribution in Florida divorce proceedings, shedding light on this essential aspect of family law and providing guidance on how our experienced team at Dorsey Law JAX can assist you in navigating the complexities of asset and debt division.

Principles of Equitable Distribution in Florida

Equitable distribution is the process through which Florida courts divide a divorcing couple’s marital property and debts. The goal of equitable distribution is not a 50-50 split, but rather a fair and just allocation of assets and liabilities considering various factors. It is important to note that equitable does not always equate to equal distribution. Some of the factors considered by Florida courts in the process of equitable distribution include:

1. The length of the marriage

2. Each spouse’s economic circumstances

3. Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, such as income, homemaking, or caring for children

4. The desirability of retaining certain assets, like a family home or business, intact and free from any claim by the other party

5. Any disproportions in the contributions of one spouse to the acquiring, managing, or maintaining of marital assets

Marital vs. Non-Marital Assets and Debts

In Florida divorce cases, assets and debts are classified as either marital or non-marital. This distinction is crucial in determining how property is distributed during a divorce.

Marital assets are those that were acquired during the marriage by either spouse or through joint efforts. Examples include:

1. Properties purchased during the marriage

2. Pension and retirement plans accrued during the marriage

3. Joint bank accounts and investments

4. Vehicles and other valuables bought during the marriage

5. Debts incurred during the marriage, including credit cards, loans, and mortgages

Non-marital assets are those that were acquired separately by one spouse before the marriage, or those that were received as gifts or inheritances solely for one spouse. Non-marital assets are generally excluded from equitable distribution, although exceptions can be made if non-marital property was commingled with marital assets or if there was a significant increase in value during the marriage due to the efforts of either spouse.

Valuing Assets and Debts for Equitable Distribution

Assigning accurate values to marital assets and debts is an essential step in the equitable distribution process. Valuation methods can vary depending on the nature of the asset or debt involved. Common methods of valuation include:

1. Market value: This involves determining the amount the asset would likely fetch if sold on the open market, such as for real estate or vehicles.

2. Appraisals: For unique or valuable items, like art, jewelry, or antiques, a professional appraisal may be necessary to determine the value.

3. Present value calculations: Retirement and pension plans may require calculations based on the present value of anticipated future benefits.

4. Debt balances: The balance of any loans or credit at the date of the divorce filing should be used for the equitable distribution process.

It is critical to ensure that accurate valuations are presented, as understating or overstating values can lead to an unfair distribution.

Negotiating Equitable Distribution Agreements

During the divorce process, spouses may choose to reach an agreement on the division of their marital property voluntarily, with or without a mediator’s assistance. Should the parties fail to reach such an agreement, the court will intervene and determine the division based on the principles of equitable distribution.

Regardless of the approach taken, having skilled legal representation during the negotiations can prove invaluable. An experienced attorney can:

1. Help identify and classify assets and debts as marital or non-marital

2. Ensure that all valuations are accurate and appropriate

3. Advocate for a fair division based on the client’s needs and contributions to the marriage

4. Advise on tax implications and other financial consequences of asset distribution


The process of equitable distribution in Florida divorce cases can be complicated and emotionally charged. Ensuring a fair and just settlement necessitates a comprehensive understanding of the principles guiding this process and the ability to present a compelling argument regarding the value of marital assets and debts.

Our team at Dorsey Law JAX is committed to providing dedicated legal support and family law guidance during this crucial phase of the divorce process, advocating for your rights and working tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome. Reach out to us today to discuss your specific situation and learn more about how we can assist you on the path toward a favorable and just resolution.



March 24, 2024

The Role of Mediation in Florida Family Law Cases

Family law disputes, primarily those involving divorce, child custody, and alimony, can be emotionally exhausting and financially taxing for all parties involved. Litigation can often exacerbate the stress and conflict that already exist between divorcing couples. Choosing to navigate these complex matters through mediation can be a more constructive alternative that saves time, money, and emotional strain.

In this article, we will discuss the role of mediation in Florida family law cases, highlighting the benefits of opting for mediation over a traditional courtroom setting and offering insights into how our team of skilled attorneys at Dorsey Law JAX can help guide you through this process.

As a team of dedicated family law specialists in Florida, we understand the intricacies that come with resolving legal disputes amidst the emotional turmoil that permeates divorce and other family law proceedings. Mediation allows for a more collaborative approach to resolving these issues, aiming to build a constructive atmosphere for the parties to address their concerns and work towards an amicable resolution.

Understanding the Mediation Process in Florida Family Law Cases

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method where a neutral third party, known as the mediator, facilitates communication and negotiation between the parties in a conflict. The mediator’s role is to help both parties reach a mutually agreeable resolution by identifying key issues, fostering open communication, and encouraging creative problem-solving. The mediator does not make decisions or impose a resolution – the power to resolve the dispute ultimately rests with the parties themselves.

In Florida, mediation is often court-ordered in family law cases, particularly those involving children. However, parties can also voluntarily choose to participate in mediation. The process typically begins with an initial joint session where both parties have an opportunity to present their concerns and objectives. Following the joint session, the mediator may schedule private meetings known as caucuses to explore possible settlement options with each party individually.

The Benefits of Mediation in Florida Family Law Cases

There are several benefits to choosing mediation over traditional courtroom methods for resolving family law disputes:

  • Cost-Effective: Mediation often costs less than going to trial, as it typically requires fewer legal fees and can be completed in a shorter time frame.
  • Confidentiality: Mediation proceedings are confidential, with discussions and disclosures made during the process generally not admissible in court. This confidentiality encourages open communication and can alleviate the fears of privacy invasion often associated with a public trial.
  • Flexibility: Mediation is a flexible process, with the ability to work around the parties’ schedules and preferences instead of adhering to rigid court timelines.
  • Greater Control: In mediation, parties retain control over the outcome of their case, allowing for more tailored solutions that address the unique needs of the family.
  • Preservation of Relationships: Mediation encourages cooperation and a respectful exchange of ideas, helping to preserve relationships between the parties, which can be particularly crucial in cases involving co-parenting.

Mediation Success Factors

Several factors can contribute to a successful outcome in a family law mediation:

  • Preparedness: Entering the mediation process with a clear understanding of your legal rights and obligations, as well as your goals and priorities, can help facilitate efficient and productive discussions.
  • An Open Mind: Willingness to listen to the other party and consider alternative perspectives can help create an environment conducive to finding common ground and reaching a mutually satisfactory resolution.
  • Effective Communication: Clearly articulating your concerns and needs will enable the mediator to identify key issues and guide the parties towards a resolution that addresses their respective interests.
  • Realistic Expectations: Approaching mediation with a pragmatic mindset, understanding that compromise may be necessary, will increase the likelihood of reaching a successful resolution.

The Importance of Legal Representation in Mediation

While mediation is less adversarial than court proceedings, it is still vital to have competent legal representation during the process. Below are some reasons why having an experienced family law attorney is essential:

  • Knowledge of the Legal Process: An attorney can help you understand the intricacies of Florida family law, ensuring that you are well-prepared to navigate the mediation process.
  • Advocacy: A skilled family law attorney can provide valuable guidance on the strength of your case and your legal options, helping to ensure that your interests are fully represented in negotiations.
  • Drafting and Reviewing Agreements: Should an agreement be reached in mediation, an attorney can assist in drafting and reviewing the settlement to ensure that it is legally sound, enforceable, and accurately reflects your intent.
  • Contingency Planning: If mediation doesn’t result in a resolution, an experienced family law attorney can guide you on the next steps, including pursuing resolutions through the court system.


Mediation can be a valuable tool in resolving disputes in Florida family law cases. By fostering collaboration and providing a more cost-effective, confidential, and flexible approach, it can yield better long-term outcomes for all parties involved. Our team at Dorsey Law JAX is ready to provide the guidance and support necessary to successfully navigate the mediation process and achieve a fair and just resolution tailored to your unique needs.

If you’re dealing with a family law case in Florida, you know how stressful and complicated it can be. But there is hope. At Dorsey Law JAX, we believe that mediation can play a crucial role in resolving family law disputes in a fair and amicable way. Contact us today to learn more about how our experienced team can help you navigate the complexities of Florida family law and find a resolution that works for you and your family. With our commitment to compassionate and effective representation, you can trust that you’re in capable hands with Dorsey Law JAX.

March 21, 2024

The Importance of a Temporary Custody Order During a Florida Divorce

Divorce is undoubtedly an emotionally challenging time for both the parents and their children. As couples navigate the complex legal process, one of the top priorities during a divorce is ensuring their children’s well-being and stability. A temporary custody order can play a crucial role in achieving this during the transitional period of a divorce, providing a structured and secure arrangement for the children until a final custody decision is made. In this article, we discuss the importance of a temporary custody order in Florida divorce cases, the factors that are considered when granting temporary custody, and the value of seeking knowledgeable legal guidance to protect both your interests and your children’s best interests.

As experienced family law specialists, we understand the intricacies of child custody matters amidst divorce proceedings and the importance of creating fair and just custody arrangements. A well-structured temporary custody order can alleviate some of the uncertainty and emotional difficulties that families face during a divorce. Our goal is to support our clients through the process of obtaining a temporary custody order that effectively addresses the needs of their children and safeguards their parental rights. Join us as we explore the critical aspects of temporary custody orders in Florida divorce cases, and learn how our team at Dorsey Law JAX can provide the expert legal support you need to protect both your family’s interests and your own.

What is a Temporary Custody Order in Florida Divorce Cases?

A temporary custody order (TCO) is issued by the court during the divorce process to establish a temporary parenting plan for couples with minor children. This order outlines each parent’s duties and obligations regarding their children in terms of custody, visitation, and decision-making authority. TCOs are put in place to maintain continuity and stability in the lives of the children until a permanent custody arrangement is established in the final divorce decree.

Choosing to establish a temporary custody order can be beneficial to families undergoing a divorce for a variety of reasons, including reduced emotional instability, minimized impact on children’s routines, and the opportunity to adjust to a new parenting dynamic before finalizing custody arrangements.

Factors Considered in Granting Temporary Custody in Florida

When deciding on temporary child custody, Florida courts place the best interests of the child as the primary concern. In determining a fair and just temporary custody arrangement, courts consider numerous factors, including but not limited to:

1. The capacity and disposition of each parent to provide for the child’s physical, emotional, and mental needs.

2. The ability of each parent to maintain a stable environment for the child, including factors such as home, school, and community life.

3. The existing relationship between the child and each parent, as well as the child’s preference if they are of a suitable age and maturity.

4. Each parent’s willingness to foster a close relationship between the child and the other parent, and to respect the time-sharing schedule.

5. Any history of domestic violence, mental illness, or substance abuse by either parent.

Based on these factors, the court may grant temporary custody to either one or both parents in the form of sole or joint custody, respectively.

The Process of Obtaining a Temporary Custody Order in Florida

To request a temporary custody order during a Florida divorce, follow these steps:

1. File a Motion for Temporary Custody: The parent requesting temporary custody must initiate the process by filing a Motion for Temporary Custody and Related Relief with the appropriate court.

2. Serve the Other Parent: The motion and accompanying documents must be served to the other parent, offering them a chance to respond and contest the motion if necessary.

3. Prepare for a Hearing: When a Motion for Temporary Custody is filed, the court may schedule a hearing to make a determination. Both parties should prepare to present their case and provide relevant documentation, such as financial records, child’s medical records, and witness testimonies.

4. Attend the Hearing: Both parents must attend the hearing to present their case before a judge, who will then review the evidence and issue a temporary custody order based on the best interests of the child.

The Importance of Legal Representation in Florida Temporary Custody Cases

The process of obtaining a temporary custody order can be complex, and legal guidance is invaluable in navigating the intricacies of the Florida family court system. An experienced family law attorney can:

1. Assess your case: A knowledgeable attorney can evaluate your specific circumstances, advising you on the best course of action for obtaining temporary custody.

2. Prepare the necessary paperwork: An attorney can assist with filing the correct forms and ensuring deadlines are met, significantly reducing the chance of mistakes or technicalities preventing your motion from being heard.

3. Represent you in court: A skilled attorney can help you prepare for the temporary custody hearing, ensuring your case is presented clearly, effectively, and persuasively to the judge.

4. Navigate negotiation and communication: If communication with your ex-spouse becomes complicated or contentious, having an attorney can provide clarity and act as a buffer, while working to secure a mutually agreeable temporary custody arrangement.


Obtaining a temporary custody order during a Florida divorce is essential for providing stability and continuity for the children involved, as well as protecting the rights of the parents. Having a thorough understanding of the factors that courts consider in determining temporary custody arrangements, being prepared for the legal process, and enlisting the assistance of an experienced family law attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. At Dorsey Law JAX, our dedicated legal professionals are here to help you navigate the complex landscape of Florida family law, ensuring the best possible outcome for your family during this challenging time. Contact us today to discuss your custody needs and find out how we can help.

March 7, 2024

Understanding Alimony Modification in Florida – Factors, Grounds, and Legal Guidance

Alimony, also known as spousal support, plays a crucial role in maintaining financial stability for both parties following a divorce. However, life events and changing circumstances may lead to the need to modify alimony arrangements. In Florida, alimony modification requests can be made by either the paying or the receiving party, based on specific grounds that can demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances.

Understanding the factors that influence such modifications and the grounds required for a successful request is vital for both parties involved, as it can significantly impact their financial well-being. In this article, we discuss alimony modification in Florida, examining the key factors, the grounds for modification, and the advantages of seeking skilled legal guidance during this complex process.

As experienced family law specialists, we understand the importance of ensuring that alimony arrangements are fair, equitable, and reflective of the current financial realities of both parties. Alimony modification requests can be a sensitive and challenging area of family law, as parties need to be well-prepared to present a strong case that demonstrates the necessity and merits of the requested changes. Our goal is to support our clients through this complex process, providing them with expert legal guidance on Florida’s alimony modification laws and helping them to navigate each step with confidence.

Factors Influencing Alimony Modification in Florida

In Florida, several factors are considered when determining the appropriateness and extent of an alimony modification request. These factors include:

1. The financial ability of the paying spouse: A significant change in the paying spouse’s financial situation may warrant a modification in alimony obligations.
2. The financial needs of the receiving spouse: If there is a substantial change in the receiving spouse’s financial situation, such as a significant increase or decrease in income or expenses, this could be grounds for alimony modification.
3. The length of time since the original alimony award: Generally, the court may be more inclined to consider a modification request if a considerable amount of time has elapsed since the initial award, and the changes in circumstances were unforeseeable at that time.
4. The existence of a supportive relationship: If the receiving spouse enters into a supportive relationship with another person, the paying spouse could request a modification or termination of alimony based on the financial support provided by the new partner.

Grounds for Alimony Modification in Florida

Florida law requires that a substantial change in circumstances be demonstrated in order to qualify for alimony modification. Some common grounds for modifying alimony in Florida include:

1. Substantial change in income: A significant increase or decrease in either spouse’s income may warrant reevaluation of their respective alimony obligations.
2. Loss of employment or involuntary reduction in income: An unexpected job loss or reduction in income due to factors beyond the spouse’s control could be grounds for modification.
3. Retirement: If the paying spouse retires and can no longer meet their alimony obligation, they may request a modification.
4. Illness or disability: If either spouse becomes seriously ill or disabled and their financial situation is significantly affected, a modification request may be warranted.
5. Cohabitation: If the receiving spouse cohabitates with a supportive partner, the paying spouse may request a modification or termination based on the new relationship’s financial implications.

In each of these scenarios, it is important to note that the change in circumstances must be substantial, ongoing, and unanticipated at the time of the original award.

The Process of Requesting an Alimony Modification

The process of requesting an alimony modification in Florida generally involves the following steps:

1. Filing a petition: The spouse seeking modification must file a Supplemental Petition for Modification of Alimony with the court that issued the original alimony order.
2. Supporting documentation: The petitioner must provide evidence to support their claim of a substantial change in circumstances, such as financial affidavits, income documentation, or medical records.
3. Serving the other party: The petition and accompanying documents must be served on the other spouse, providing them with an opportunity to respond.
4. Mediation or negotiation: Both parties may participate in mediation or negotiation to try to reach an agreement on modified alimony terms. If a settlement is reached, it will be presented to the court for approval.
5. Court hearing: If an agreement cannot be reached through negotiations, a hearing will be scheduled before a judge who will review the evidence and make a determination on the modification request.

The Role of an Attorney in Alimony Modification Cases

Having a skilled family law attorney by your side during the alimony modification process can significantly improve your chances of a favorable outcome. Some ways in which an attorney can assist you include:

1. Case assessment: An attorney can evaluate your case, helping you understand the likelihood of a successful modification request based on your specific circumstances.
2. Legal guidance: Skilled legal counsel can provide guidance on the best strategies for presenting a compelling case for modification, ensuring that your arguments are well-organized and supported by relevant evidence.
3. Document preparation: An attorney can assist you in preparing the necessary documentation and submitting the correct forms to the court on time.
4. Representation during negotiation and mediation: Having an experienced attorney present during negotiations or mediation can help you secure a more favorable settlement.
5. Court representation: If your case goes to court, a skilled attorney can present a compelling argument to the judge, improving your chances of obtaining a favorable ruling.


Understanding the factors that influence alimony modification in Florida, recognizing the grounds for requesting a change, and navigating the legal process can be complex and challenging. By seeking the assistance of an experienced family law attorney, both the paying and receiving parties can work towards ensuring that their financial interests are protected and that alimony obligations remain equitable and reflective of their current circumstances.

At Dorsey Law JAX, our team of dedicated legal professionals is committed to providing expert guidance and support during the alimony modification process. Reach out to us today to discuss your situation and learn how we can help protect your interests in this critical area of family law.

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