Florida divorces come in all shapes and sizes. In some case, spouses are able to agree on all the issues, or perhaps there are no marital assets to fight over. In those instances, they may be able to quickly resolve their divorce with the simple filing of paperwork. However, in most instances, the parties do not agree on every issue, whether division of marital assets, child custody, or alimony. Cases in which there is not agreement on all issues are referred to as “contested.” The experienced legal professionals at the Family Law Advocates, P.A., have years of experience protecting the rights of clients in uncontested divorces. Whether your case ultimately settles, or you are headed to trial, we provide sound advice and vigorous representation throughout the process. We will work hard to fight for the best outcome for you. Our attorneys recognize the financial and emotional impact that divorce can bring. We also understand the importance of moving forward with financial solvency and your children’s interests.
If you are contemplating divorce, or have just been served, consulting with a Tampa divorce attorney early in the process can make all the difference in the final outcome of your case. Family Law Advocates serve clients through the Tampa Bay area, including cases in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. Let us help you move on to the next chapter of your life.Pursuing a Contested Divorce in Florida
Florida is a “no fault’ state, which means that either party in a divorce proceeding may petition the court for a divorce, without having to provide a specific reason to do so. The general standard is that there has been a breakdown in the marriage. However, fault can become relevant in some instances, such as infidelity related to alimony or marital waste tied into the dissipation of assets.
To file divorce in Florida, at least one spouse must have been a resident for 6 months or more. A simple, uncontested divorce can be granted 20 days after the case is filed. When there is not agreement regarding the core issues, a divorce can take several months from start to finish. Statute does allow for people to seek temporary orders, such as support for the children, to govern while the case is pending. It also allows a request for attorney fees or “suit money,” to level the playing field of affording litigation.
During the gap between filing and conclusion, there are an array of steps to be taken to gear up towards settlement (or trial). Financial disclosures will need to be done. Discovery may be needed to get more information. In some cases, experts may be needed, such as a real estate appraiser or a business valuator. The legal team at the Family Law Advocates is accustomed to working with experts to prove the facts and evidence needed to effectively advocate for you.
When there are children involved, there are additional issues to be resolved, including:
When parents cannot agree on these issues, there may be a need for a child custody expert, such as a social investigator. If agreements cannot ultimately be reached, the judge will decide the various child related issues. If possible, it’s always better to arrive at agreements, so long as they are workable for your kids and in their best interests.
While most cases start out as “contested,” the reality is that most will settle before going to a final hearing. Our attorneys will work hard to settle your divorce, so long as the terms are fair to you and meet your objectives. The final decision on whether to settle or litigate will be up to you. Our job is to provide you with the necessary advice and insights for you to make intelligent and informed decisions. Our job is also to advocate for you, whether in the courtroom or at the settlement table. Our attorneys are equally skilled at both. There will be various settlement opportunities throughout the process, and most courts will order parties to attend mediation prior to a final Court hearing.Hire the Right Divorce and Family Law Firm
When everything is on the line, you can’t leave anything to chance. You need an experienced and dedicated family law team fighting for your rights.
The divorce attorneys at The Family Law Advocates have years of experience representing clients just like you. We have handled all aspects of contested divorce cases, including marital property division, child custody, parenting time rights, child support, and alimony. Our offices are conveniently located in the Westshore area of Tampa, with easy access the entire Bay area, including St. Petersburg and Pinellas County.
If you find yourself initiating or defending a contested divorce proceeding, give our office a call to schedule your initial consultation. Hiring the right family law attorney matters.