If you are considering divorce, you may be unsure of what steps you need to take first. Having a knowledgeable divorce lawyer on your side can truly make a difference in the outcome. There are so many important issues that must be decided during a divorce, like asset division, spousal support, timesharing, parenting plans, and child support, if children are a part of the equation. It can seem like a daunting prospect, and many concede important issues simply to have the divorce over and done with. If you speak to an experienced, compassionate divorce lawyer from Lauriston Law Firm, we will take care of the legalities of your divorce, so you can refocus your life.
What Are the Steps in a Florida Divorce Proceeding?
If you are the spouse filing for divorce, you will be known as the Petitioner, and your spouse will be the Respondent. One spouse will file the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, assuming at least one of you has resided in the state of Florida for at least six months. The Petition will be filed in the circuit court and will state that your marriage is irretrievably broken under Florida’s no-fault process. You will either file in the Florida county where you both last lived, or in the county where you currently live (if you are the Petitioner).
Once the Petition is filed and served to the Respondent, they have twenty days to respond. This response could include a counter-petition, which responds to the Petitioner’s requests and includes additional stipulations, as well. If a counter-petition is filed, the Petitioner then has twenty days to file another response. Once the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed, either party may ask for temporary orders involving spousal support, timesharing, parenting plans, and child support.
The divorce then enters the discovery phase. The financial assets of each party are fully disclosed during this time. Both parties must submit financial disclosures including income tax returns, bank and credit card statements, retirement account statements, proof of income, and any other financial information that reflects assets or debt. The judge can require divorce mediation when agreements on asset division, child custody and support, or alimony cannot be reached.
If children are involved, a comprehensive parenting plan must be agreed upon by both parents. Important questions like who is responsible for important forms, healthcare, and enrollment in extracurricular activities must be determined, and child support must be calculated. If you, your co-parent, and your attorneys are unable to reach mutually agreeable decisions, even after mediation, then you will go to trial, where the judge will make rulings on each of these decisions. Once all issues have been negotiated and either agreed upon by both parties or mandated by the court, the judge will sign an order of dissolution, or the Final Judgment, which must be signed by both parties.
What is a Simplified Divorce?
You may qualify for a simplified divorce if you meet all of the following criteria:
- Either you or your spouse has met the six-month residency requirement prior to filing for divorce
- Both you and your spouse agree your marriage is irretrievably broken and cannot be saved
- There are no minor children of the marriage—either natural or adopted—and neither party is pregnant
- You and your spouse have agreed how your assets and liabilities will be divided
- Alimony is not pursued by either party
- Other than the financial information provided in financial affidavits, you do not require additional financial information
- You agree that you are willing to rescind your right to trial and to an appeal
- You must go to the clerk’s office to sign the simplified petition of dissolution
- You are willing to go to the final hearing at the same time as your spouse
How Lauriston Law Firm Can Help
When you contact a divorce lawyer from Lauriston Law Firm, we understand how easy it is to feel overwhelmed. Far too many people walk away from a fair division of assets simply because they are just too tired to continue fighting for what is rightfully theirs. Our highly experienced family law attorneys will take over this fight, ensuring your rights and your future are fully protected.
This gives you breathing room to deal with the emotional side of divorce and determine what you want for your future. The Lauriston Law Firm divorce lawyers are highly skilled, empathetic, and knowledgeable in every aspect of Florida divorce. We will find the solutions right for your unique situation, using every resource at our disposal to help you through this difficult time. If you want to ensure your future is as secure as possible, contact a divorce lawyer from Lauriston Law Firm today.