Devoted To Helping Families

Pursuit Of Your Rights During Divorce With Integrity And Common Sense

The end of a marriage is a difficult time, especially when children are involved. If children had a say, they would likely say “no divorce.” Ideally, all divorces – with or without children, and “gray” divorces involving couples nearing retirement age, would be resolved in an uncontested manner. Couples would decide divorce-related issues through effective negotiation or simply sitting down and coming to an agreement on the specifics of their unique divorce.

The reality is that the majority of dissolution of marriages are contested divorces, and each divorce is inherently different.  Careful, expedient planning prior to or at the inception of a divorce with a fair and reasonable set of goals for each piece of the divorce process needs to be considered with care, concern, and a plan for the future. At The Law Office of Anita M. Johnson, PLLC, divorce lawyer Anita Johnson leverages her experience and training to do exactly that for her clients in Naples and the surrounding communities.

Divorce Addressed In An Orderly Fashion

P.E.A.C.E. is an acronym usually followed by the court, the attorneys and the parties to reasonably evaluate the components of the divorce process and uses this order to address your divorce with specificity.

  • Parenting plans and time-sharing: Florida courts have eliminated the terms “child custody” and “visitation.” The court has replaced this terminology with “parenting plans” and “time-sharing.” Shared parental responsibility is favored by the court for major decisions unless it is not in the child’s best interest.
  • Equitable distribution: This can be a complex area and requires identifying and characterizing assets and liabilities into marital and nonmarital categories, then distributing those marital assets and liabilities equitably. Equitable distribution is connected to alimony. If a party receives income-producing assets or a greater amount of assets than the other party, that may eliminate the need for alimony.
  • Alimony: In Florida, there is no current formula for alimony like there is for child support. Two factors must be determined – “need” and “ability” to pay. Does one party need alimony and can the other party pay it? Alimony must be decided before child support is addressed.
  • Child support: Child support determination is formulaic in nature. It is based upon each individual’s net income(s), the age and number of children, the number of overnight time-sharing that each parent will exercise, along with health insurance and child care expenses. Any other includable income or special circumstances can affect child support payments and may justify a deviation from child support guidelines. Alimony must be established first as it is considered income. This figure is also included in the calculations.
  • Everything else: This is a catch-all category and may include, but is not limited to, entitlement to attorneys’ fees, filing of individual vs. separate tax returns and distribution of any refunds. It also includes life insurance which may secure child support and any other specialized features as necessary for the individual family.

Finding Resolution Outside The Courtroom

Meditation is often successful in contested divorce proceedings in reaching amicable solutions through a third-party mediator. In fact, mediation is required by the Court prior to going to trial except in cases where domestic violence is involved. In this setting, Attorney Johnson acts as your attorney, and you attend the mediation together. She guides and works with you to ideally obtain the best settlement of all of your issues at that time. Extensive planning is done prior to mediation to create a settlement plan with your interests and goals integrated within those plans.
If the mediation results in an impasse, the court process continues to the trial stage for resolution by a judge.

Discuss Your Options With A Knowledgeable Divorce Attorney Today

Whether your goals are accomplished through litigation, negotiation, or a combination of these, when you work with The Law Office of Anita M. Johnson, PLLC, we will lead every step of the way in a manner that is decisive, fair, empathetic and without unnecessary expense. Call 239-829-4742 or complete the online form to schedule a consultation today.