Divorce

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Our Divorce Lawyers Are Here For You

There are times when a couple is unable to work through certain differences, overcome major problems, or a crisis, and it gets to the point where their quality of life, and the emotional and mental health of the couple and other family members — such as their children — starts to deteriorate. At this point, it may be necessary to make permanent changes, and at times this may mean divorce. The Kowtko Law Group team understands how difficult these situations are, and we stand by our clients to help them protect their interests and move forward with their lives.

Having competent representation in divorce cases can make the difference between more advantageous results or potentially losing your:

  • Assets

  • Income

  • Time with your children

  • And more

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Divorce Lawyers At Kowtko Law Group Can Help You Move Forward

Divorce is usually accompanied by high stress and emotional turmoil, making it harder for the parties to be able to negotiate and reach a mutual and reasonable agreement. Without the proper legal guidance and understanding of Florida family lawyers, mistakes can be made by either party, and cases can become unnecessarily complex — both legally and emotionally. This can often lead to a less favorable outcome on both sides. Having a competent, reliable, and experienced divorce lawyer by your side can help you see things more clearly and move forward constructively.

Customized Case Strategies

At the Kowtko Law Group, we focus on developing customized case strategies centered on each individual client’s family needs and expectations, and we are prepared to provide you with the high-quality divorce representation you need and deserve.

Our office understands this is a highly emotional time in our client’s life, and our divorce lawyers will customize our representation and develop a case strategy principled on your and your family’s needs and expectations. Contact our office to find out your rights in your upcoming divorce case.

About Our Sarasota Divorce Lawyers

The Kowtko Law Group, P.A. is a family firm in Florida that has a strong focus on each client's individual experience in family law matters. We recognize that each divorce situation is different, requiring a dynamic, ever-changing approach to continually meet a client's needs. A divorce attorney should work hard to provide the highest level of service, which is precisely what you will get from the Kowtko Law Group.

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Common Contention Points in a Divorce

During a divorce, there are numerous issues that can arise, each issue requiring a different strategy to protect your rights. The most common issues include:

  • Real estate

  • Child custody issues

  • Child support

  • Alimony or spousal support

  • Division of assets

  • Division of debts

  • Retirement accounts

  • Subsequent bankruptcy

Mediation Process in Florida Divorce Cases

In Florida, all parties going through a divorce are required to go through a process called mediation. Mediation is a process for resolving disputes that allows parties, with the help of a mediator, to come to an agreement on contended issues. A Florida Supreme Court certified mediator conducts the mediation according to rules and statutes, requiring mediators to:

  • Remain neutral – not biased toward either party

  • Not force either party into an agreement

  • Always work for the mutual good of the parties.

Mediation opens lines of communication and allows parties to explore all settlement options in order to resolve disputes. Everything said during mediation is confidential and (except as provided by law) may not be repeated to anyone other than the other party and/or the party’s attorney. Mediation gives parties more control over the outcome of their case, normally allows the case to be resolved sooner, and can save on the overall expense involved in the case.

Equitable Distribution

Florida statutes proscribe that marital property (usually property earned or purchased during the marriage) be split evenly between the parties. This typically means assets, including but not limited to:

  • Bank accounts
  • Residential homes
  • Businesses
  • Investment properties/homes
  • Retirement accounts
  • Pensions

All of these and any other assets you may have are subject to being split equally. Along with assets equitably distributed, the liabilities incurred during the marriage must be evenly split between the parties. These may include credit card debt, mortgages, and automobile loans.

Oftentimes, such as with homes and automobiles, the assets are encumbered by the liabilities and are held in both the parties' names. When this occurs, provisions have to be made to ensure that when the parties split, the financial aspects of the relationship are also separated. This means that home and/or automobile loans will have to be refinanced.

Additionally, provisions have to be made when there is equity in a certain asset, often found in the home. The equity in the home, by statute, must be equitably distributed, even if the party being awarded the home does not have the liquid assets to cover the value of the equity. Having an attorney on your side who understands how to handle asset and liability distribution can not only make the legal experience easier, but also protect your rights to the property you have acquired during the marriage. Schedule a free, no obligation consultation with Kowtko Law Group to determine your rights.

Alimony & Spousal Support

Florida permits, in some circumstances, essentially five different types of alimony:

  • Bridge-the-gap
  • Rehabilitative
  • Durational
  • Temporary
  • Permanent

The amount of alimony that a spouse may be entitled to or required to pay depends heavily on the length of the marriage, the income of the parties during a marriage, and potential income of the parties after the divorce, among many others.

The Courts, first and foremost, are required to determine whether the requesting party has the need for alimony. In most circumstances, this means whether the requesting party is able to afford the basic necessities, including food and housing, but can include the living standard of the parties during the marriage. If the Court determines that the requesting party has the need for alimony, then the Court must then determine whether the other party has the ability to pay alimony.

Alimony is not designed to equalize income in the way equitable distribution is designed to evenly split assets and liabilities. Instead, it is designed to provide the spouse who earned less or no income during the marriage the life necessities and, in certain circumstances, the standard of living during the marriage. Having an attorney and law firm which understands the requirements and nuances of alimony law can make the difference in ensuring your rights are fully protected. Our Florida firm is well-versed in using the appropriate statutory factors in setting up cases to achieve the best result regarding alimony. Schedule a free consultation with us today to learn more.

Types Of Divorce Cases

There are several main types of divorce cases that our team can help with. These include:

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Litigious Divorce

While it is usually preferable for the parties to collaboratively resolve divorce issues, many cases require litigation. Litigation occurs when the parties cannot settle the case amongst themselves and a Judge is required to resolve issues in dispute. Litigation can require the parties to hire outside professionals to present expert opinions and testimony outlining the reasons why the Court should rule in one party's favor. As a result, litigation is often a risky and lengthy endeavor.

Even though litigation has drawbacks, some parties can benefit through litigation. If one party is not cooperating or is unwilling to fairly negotiate a resolution, litigation can force the parties to participate on an equal playing field. Further, litigation provides you the opportunity to present evidence which can provide inequitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities or show the Court certain requests should be granted.

At the Kowtko Law Group, P.A., we are prepared to litigate your case before the Court to help you achieve the best result based on your circumstances. Reach out to us for further info regarding litigations.

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Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is exactly as the name describes — it is a divorce where the parties make a fair and honest team effort to resolve all issues. This process includes the parties, attorneys and occasionally other necessary professionals to resolve all of the financial and parental (if applicable) issues without relying on or turning to the Court.

By taking the collaborative approach, the divorcing parties can often save themselves not only extensive costs associated with preparing for trial, but also the substantial stress that can accompany trial. The primary difference in hiring a collaborative attorney and taking a collaborative approach is that the attorneys and experts' sole focus is settling the case. Our office, while looking out for your best interest, will prepare the case from solely a settlement perspective, and the experts are hired not to advocate for one party, but hired instead to find a middle ground.

Another key difference in a collaborative approach versus a litigation approach is the attorneys and experts all agree from the onset that the attorneys will not continue representation if the case is not settled, and the experts will not testify in any Court hearing. Further, recommendations and offers during a collaborative case are all confidential and cannot be used in any subsequent litigation. This is all designed so both parties, the attorneys, and the experts' sole focus is resolving the case.

Attorney W. Matthew Kowtko, Esq. is well versed in collaborative approaches and methods to help resolve your case without risking your financial or parental rights by going to Court. Contact our office for a free, no obligation consultation!

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Contested Divorce

A divorce that is contested is often the most complicated type of divorce. In these divorces, it involves spouses who cannot agree on one or more issues related to their divorce case. In these situations, the divorce proceedings will likely take much longer as there are a variety of steps involved. Some of these steps include:

  • Preparing and filing for the divorce

  • Hiring an attorney

  • Engaging in divorce discovery

  • Pre-trial motions and hearings

  • Settlement and negotiations with attorneys

  • If the settlement doesn’t work, preparation for a trial

  • Court trial

  • Possible appeals

  • And more

If your divorce is contested, get in touch with the team at Kowtko Law Group in Sarasota for the legal help you need throughout the case.

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Uncontested Divorce

Unlike a contested divorce, in uncontested cases, both spouses agree to the terms of the divorce. These cases are often much simpler and require much less time, energy, and resources. While you will still need to get assistance from a divorce attorney, you will be able to move through the proceedings much more quickly since both parties are agreeing to the terms that were set out at the beginning.

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High-Asset Divorce

While splitting up assets in general can be hard, if there are a large quantity of assets or assets worth a large sum of money, it can be much more difficult. If you are splitting up a high amount of assets in your divorce, you will need to consider some of the following implications:

  • Overall asset division and making sure each partner is allocated a fair share

  • Tax implications and utilizing secure strategies to avoid negative tax implications or liabilities

  • Retirement plans and the access you may have to retirement funds

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Prior Divorce Modification

After reaching a divorce agreement and living with it for a period of time, it’s not uncommon for one or both of the former partners to want to modify some of the terms previously agreed upon. This will usually require a substantial and continual change to circumstances. This could include income changes, relocation, problems with childcare, or any other issues that may have arisen in the past months or years. Modifications to divorce agreements will require both parties to present cases before the Court and try to justify any changes that they would like. If there are disagreements, settlements must be met. Get the help you need during these complex proceedings with assistance from divorce attorneys at Kowtko Law Group in Sarasota.

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Contempt and Enforcement of Post-Dissolution Court Orders

If one of the parties fails to comply with the Court Order and divorce agreements, there will need to be a contempt action filed. This contempt could be due to non-payment of alimony or child support, refusal to take necessary actions, or any other number of items that you originally agreed upon. Our family law attorneys will help you in filing this contempt case so that your former partner will be required to follow the agreement and you will be able to continue your life normally.

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Alimony & Spousal Support

The Kowtko Law Group divorce lawyers have experience helping couples work through alimony and spousal support issues. Having an attorney and law firm by your side which understands the requirements and nuances of alimony law can make the difference in ensuring your rights are fully protected. Our firm is well-versed in using the appropriate statutory factors in setting up cases to achieve the best result regarding alimony.

Alimony is designed to help spouses maintain the standard of living they had before the divorce, including covering their necessities and helping them transition into their new single life. The amount of alimony that a spouse may be entitled to or required to pay depends on the length of the marriage, the income of the parties during a marriage, the potential income of the parties after the divorce, among many others.

Types of alimony permitted in Florida:

  • Bridge-the-gap – Intended to help the lower-earning spouse transition into their new single life, as well as to help cover living expenses during divorce proceedings, this alimony is usually limited to no more than two years.

  • Rehabilitative – Like bridge-the-gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony helps one of the divorcing parties to transition back into work. However, this type can last up to five years and is usually due to that party being unable to immediately earn enough to support the standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage.

  • Durational – Limited alimony that does not exceed the length of the marriage.

  • Temporary – Before the judge awards a permanent alimony award, the lower earner will receive temporary alimony to help them make it through the court proceedings.

  • Permanent – The most traditional form of alimony, this payment lasts for the rest of the recipient’s life.

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How Do Florida Courts Determine Alimony?

The Courts, first and foremost, are required to determine whether the requesting party has the need for alimony. In most circumstances, this means whether the requesting party is able to afford the basic necessities, including food and housing, but can include the living standard of the parties during the marriage. If the Court determines that the requesting party has the need for alimony, then the Court must determine whether the other party has the ability to pay alimony.

Get Help From Florida Divorce Attorneys

When you are preparing for this complicated time in your life, it is extremely important to have an experienced divorce lawyer on your side. Contact the team at Kowtko Law Group today to receive a free consultation to discuss your case. We will work diligently with you and make sure you receive the best legal help possible.

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