What To Know About Divorce

Divorce is a personal decision that can leave you feeling confused or hopeless. No one anticipates getting a divorce, and the thought of separating from your spouse can seem terrifying. Accordingly, divorce is not a decision that should be made impulsively, but one made after much thought, communication, and support. In most cases, the decisions made about child support, child custody, alimony, and property division are final and will significantly impact your personal and financial situation for years to come. With that in mind, taking the time to consider whether divorce is right for you, select the right attorney, and gather the necessary information can make all the difference.

At Vazquez & Stockmar, PLLC, we’re dedicated to providing our clients with the education they need to make informed decisions throughout the divorce process. Additionally, should you choose to go through with your divorce, our divorce lawyers make certain that you receive or pay the appropriate amount of child support, have a fair and equitable parenting plan, receive a fair property division, and receive or pay the appropriate alimony.

Contact our Central Florida law firm, Vazquez & Stockmar, PLLC, today to request a free consultation with an experienced divorce attorney!

How To Decide If Divorce Is Right For You

Divorce is a personal decision that can leave you feeling confused or hopeless. No one anticipates getting a divorce, and the thought of separating from your spouse can seem overwhelming. However, this is not a decision that should be made impulsively and should be made with much thought, communication, and support. Unfortunately, one of the most difficult parts of a divorce is the reluctance of one or both spouses to communicate about a possible separation.


Many online resources can give you a good understanding of the divorce process in Florida, including the resources included on the Vazquez & Stockmar, PLLC website. If you or your family are in a harmful or dangerous situation, get help right away. Every county has resources available, such as police, shelters, restraining orders, and other situation-specific resources.

Consult With An Attorney

You should consult with one of our divorce lawyers about your situation. Consultations will be confidential, as all attorneys are governed by law not to disclose your information, even if you do not retain them. Even if you don’t plan on using an attorney for your divorce, it’s good practice to speak with one regardless. You will come away better educated and be better prepared for the future. Our attorneys in Longwood, Florida, offer a free consultation to help you better understand the divorce process.

Consider Your Post-Divorce Situation

It is essential to plan for the future and understand what your new normal will look like post-divorce. It’s not uncommon for a person’s financial situation, employment, child custody and care, and housing to be affected following a divorce. You should have a plan for what will be manageable, from a family, financial and emotional perspective, for you and your family.

Talk To Your Spouse

Assuming safety is not an issue, and you have a spouse you can communicate with, talk to them. Decide if you and your spouse could benefit from therapy or counseling and whether you can resolve the issues causing the need for separation. Many couples start exploring the possibility of counseling, either faith-based or from professionals. If you are uncomfortable seeking joint counseling, individual counseling may be beneficial to learn how to communicate your concerns with your spouse better.

Talk With Friend & Relatives

The decision to proceed with separation from your spouse can be an emotional process. It is important to reach out to your friends and loved ones for emotional support. Having an outside perspective can be helpful. Asking friends and family who are willing to talk to you about their experience with divorce can also be helpful and can be a good referral source for a good local divorce attorney.

Talk To A Spiritual Advisor

If you are a person of strong faith and believe it will be helpful, seek guidance from your spiritual advisor. Often they have helped many of their constituents through the same process and can be a valuable resource.

Choosing The Right Divorce Attorney

Divorces can be complex legal proceedings involving financial and real property issues. Very few firms can match the legal experience, financial background, and real estate background of the attorneys at Vazquez & Stockmar, PLLC, the team you should have on your side.

Alimony, child support, child custody/time-sharing, and property settlement will all get decided during the span of your divorce. In most cases, these decisions or settlements will be permanent and affect you and your children for years. Therefore, if there are significant assets, income, child support, or alimony issues in your case, you should consider professional representation.

Having the right attorney can help you navigate the divorce process, can save you money, make certain you obtain a fair distribution of property, receive or pay fair alimony (if applicable), collect or pay the appropriate amount of child support, and come to the right co-parenting agreement with your spouse. When choosing your attorney, make sure they meet the criteria below.

  • Someone you are comfortable with
  • Someone that understands your needs and goals in your divorce
  • Someone that is accessible in case of an emergency
  • Someone that keeps you informed of the progress in your case
  • Experienced as a divorce attorney
  • Someone with a financial background themselves or affiliated with a good accounting professional
  • Experienced at reviewing financial documents
  • Experienced in real estate and business issues
  • An experienced negotiator
  • Someone patient and understanding

Protecting Assets, Privacy, & Security During Your Divorce

Protecting your assets, which includes limiting your liabilities, is an important part of the divorce process. It is important to be vigilant in protecting yourself, but you must also be compliant with court orders designed to protect both parties. All Florida counties have adopted Standing Temporary Orders in Dissolution of Marriage, paternity, and domestic violence cases. Understanding and complying with the Standing Orders in your jurisdiction is essential to any court proceeding.

The parties must maintain certain aspects of their assets throughout the divorce to safeguard these items and help establish stability during the proceedings. Below, we have listed topics discussed in the standing orders both parties are required to follow.

  • Child Support: If the parents are not living together, an initial determination of child support or an estimate should be made by utilizing the calculations set out by Florida Statutes Chapter 61.30. The attorneys in Longwood, FL  at Vazquez & Stockmar, PLLC can help you estimate the amount of child support you should receive or pay. You can also utilize web-based tools to estimate child support, such as the Florida child support calculator. Be sure to make all child support payments and other payments to your spouse or other guardians by check or money order to record the amounts paid. Failure to keep accurate records could result in duplication of payment or not being credited for amounts received.
  • Property: Neither spouse shall sell, donate, pledge or dispose of marital assets without an order of the court or consent of the other party. This includes financial assets such as bank accounts, savings accounts, retirement accounts, 401K accounts, personal property, cars, furniture, jewelry, household items, etc. All assets and liabilities acquired during the marriage are joint assets and joint liabilities. Speaking with a knowledgeable attorney to determine what assets are marital or non-marital is crucial to the distribution of assets in your divorce.
  • Paying Expenses: Courts expect the parties to continue paying expenses as they have prior to filing a divorce action or one party separating from the other party. If you have specific fears that your spouse will drain your accounts or cut you off from credit cards or other customary sources of funds for expenses, talk to the family law attorneys at Vazquez & Stockmar, PLLC. Our attorneys can show you how to separate these assets while maintaining compliance with standing family law orders. Spouses will be accountable to the court for their treatment of assets before and during the divorce proceedings. Having good records will enable your attorney to file an immediate motion if your spouse cancels your insurance, removes the funds from your account, fails to make your car payment, or commits other violations of the standing family law order. Neither party may cancel or remove the other from insurance policies during the pendency of the divorce, except by a court order or agreement of the parties. Additionally, joint credit cards should only be used for customary expenses. In general, once a divorce proceeding has begun, neither party should incur any unnecessary debt on the other. You will be required to account for the use of cash or money removed from joint accounts during the divorce proceeding.

It is important to highlight that spouses will be accountable to the court for their treatment of assets before and during the divorce proceedings. Having good records will enable your attorney to file an immediate motion if your spouse cancels your insurance, removes the funds from a marital account, fails to make your car payment, or other violations of the Standing Family Law Order.

Neither party may cancel or remove the other from a car, life, or health insurance policy during the pendency of the divorce, except by court order or agreement of the parties. Joint credit cards should only be used for normal and customary expenses. In general, once a divorce proceeding has begun, neither party should incur the unnecessary debt of the other.

You will be required to account for the use of cash or money removed from joint accounts during the divorce proceeding. Notwithstanding the preceding, some situations justify removing funds to protect yourself and your children. Some examples include emergency medical situations, spousal or child abuse situations, and protecting against a spouse committing marital waste. Speak to the attorneys at Vazquez & Stockmar, PLLC to discuss your specific situation and how you can protect your assets.

Safety & Privacy

Some common-sense precautions will go a long way in keeping your information, activities, and communications safe during your divorce. The following are essential to your privacy during a divorce.

  1. Copies Of Records – Keep copies of records in a safe place. Consider having a backup copy of all financial information outside of your home. Do not keep sensitive records, especially attorney communications, in your home where your spouse has access to them. If necessary, consider storing information somewhere only you have access to, such as a secure place at work, with a friend, neighbor, or even a safe deposit box.
  2. Change Your Passwords – Changing your passwords to online accounts, such as email, Facebook, and other social media, is a way to safeguard against any unwanted provocation. It’s not uncommon for one spouse to have access to the accounts of another spouse and try to use this to their advantage in a divorce action or for harassment.
  3. Suspend Your Social Media Accounts – You should consider closing or suspending your social media accounts during the pendency of your divorce to avoid potential stalking situations or your social media accounts being used against you in a divorce action. Your actions, comments, postings, and posts of those you associate with reflect on you, and you should assume your spouse has access in some form. Moreover, disparaging comments can be used against you and brought into your divorce proceedings.
  4. New Email, New Phone & Computer – In some situations, it could be beneficial to obtain a new email that your spouse is unfamiliar with and use this for communication with your attorney. Try not to communicate with your attorney about sensitive information regarding your case on a computer or tablet that your spouse can access. If possible, after separation, obtain a new computer or phone or have your existing communication devices checked for spyware or reset to factory settings to ensure the privacy of your communications.

Standing Family Law Orders

Florida Courts have, generally by county, adopted standing temporary orders for dissolution and paternity matters that both parents and their counsel are expected to abide by during a divorce action. The purpose of the standing court orders is to protect the parties, protect the children, provide for civil discourse, and to encourage cooperation between the parties. The standing orders differ by county, but all generally cover the same areas. Parties can expect the following to apply to their divorce:

  1. Shared Parenting of the Children, with both parents having liberal and frequent visitation and overnights between the parents.
  2. Providing child support and other support during the pendency of the divorce, in accordance with Florida Statutes. The attorneys at Vazquez & Stockmar, PLLC can help determine an approximate amount of child support expected or paid during the divorce.
  3. No disparagement of the other Parent at any time during or after the pendency of the divorce. Parties are expected to treat each other civilly and encourage love and affection between their children and spouses. The parties will be required to take a parenting class (available online) prior to obtaining a final judgment.  This is generally required within a certain time period (45 days) from filing the petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
  4. No relocation over 50 miles and no relocation of the children. Children should be expected to remain in their current school district unless the parents agree or by court order.
  5. The parties should be expected not to dissipate Marital Assets during the pendency of the divorce. Neither party is permitted to begin selling or disposing of joint assets without the court’s consent. Similarly, the parties are prohibited from incurring joint liabilities.
  6. The parties may not remove the other party from health, car, dental and life insurance policies.
  7. The parties may not conceal or destroy records relating to marital assets, debts, and property during the divorce.

What Should Be Included In A Parenting Plan?

Parenting plans are one of the most important aspects of any divorce involving minor children and should be carefully evaluated and drafted to ensure your child has the best possible environment to grow. Parenting plans require compromises to be made between the parties that serve their children’s best interests. The following are key decisions that should be included in a parenting plan.

  1. Both parties are responsible for the upbringing of their children and should be supportive and respectful of the other parent in co-parenting.
  2. Which parent’s home shall be considered the home for purposes of registering for school, both now and as the children reach middle school and high school?
  3. What shall be the visitation/overnight schedule for the children? Overnight visitations are a principal determinant of child support. Courts generally begin with an assumption that the parenting should be 50/50 and then start evaluating other considerations.
  4. How will the children be transported between the parents, and who will cover transportation costs?
  5. How will the children communicate with the non-custodial parent?
  6. Specific determination of overnights for holidays/school breaks, spring break, summer, and vacations.
  7. Outlining what other parties are authorized or not authorized to watch the children (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.).
  8. If a parent has a conflict and cannot watch the child for an extended period, when is that time offered to the non-custodial parent (e.g., after 4 hours, 8 hours?)
  9. How will the parents determine healthcare and school-related decisions?
  10. How parents will decide extracurricular activities and how those expenses will be paid.

Per Florida law, parenting plans cannot be modified absent a substantial change in circumstances. The family law team at Vazquez & Stockmar, PLLC is experienced in negotiating and litigating for favorable parenting plans that will give the child(ren) their best chance for success.

Divorce Information Checklist

The following information will allow your attorney to evaluate and prosecute your divorce to your best advantage.

  • Personal Information – You and your spouse’s legal name, address, social security number, and date of birth
  • Bank Statements – You and your spouse’s bank statements from three months prior to separation or filing of the divorce, including separate and joint bank accounts, in addition to savings accounts
  • Tax Returns – You and your spouse’s tax return for the past three years from separation or divorce filing, whether jointly or separately
  • Loans – Loan information for you and your spouse
  • Retirement Accounts – Information regarding you or your spouse’s retirements accounts
  • Medical & Life Insurance – Information regarding medical insurance and any life insurance policy for anyone in your household
  • Deeds – A copy of any deeds that you and your spouse own separately or jointly
  • Pay Stubs – You and your spouse’s pay stubs for the three months prior to separation or filing of the divorce

Please note, your spouse will be required to provide any information you do not have access to during the discovery period of your divorce.

Vazquez & Stockmar, PLLC is a law firm serving Central Florida. Our attorneys offer dependable services in several legal disciplines, including probate, estate planning, and family law. Get in touch with us today to request a free consultation!