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Dissolution of your marriage can be an extremely difficult, fraught with anxiety and depression.
A West Palm Beach divorce lawyer can be invaluable if you plan to end your marriage or your spouse has served you with a divorce petition.
At Winthrop Law Offices, our West Palm Beach divorce lawyers aim to make the divorce process run as smoothly as possible so you can move on with your life.
You can feel confident in the knowledge you are being represented by experienced litigators who are passionate about obtaining the best results possible.
Our family law practice ensures each client has two Florida family law attorneys assigned to their case to ensure no stone is left unturned or angle missed when developing the best strategy for your circumstances.
Call our West Palm Beach divorce lawyers at (561) 264-5197 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation now.
Contested Divorce in Florida
A contested divorce in Florida is a type of divorce in which the spouses cannot agree on the terms of their divorce. The case will go to Florida courts, and the courts will decide the divorce terms.
Some of the most common issues that are contested in divorce cases include:
Suppose you are facing a contested divorce in Florida. In that case, it is crucial to be prepared including gathering all relevant documents, such as financial statements, property valuations, and child custody evaluations. It is also essential to be ready to testify in court.
A contested divorce can be a complex and emotional process. However, with the help of an experienced family law attorney, you can protect your rights and interests and reach a resolution that is in your best interests.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Florida?
A contested divorce in Florida can take up to six months, a year, or even several years, depending on the complexity of the disputes in the marriage. The process of a contested divorce includes filing a petition for dissolution of marriage and filing an answer.
When you and your spouse cannot agree on terms, hiring our attorney in West Palm Beach, Florida, is pivotal.
Our family law firm will ensure you are well-versed in your options and all possible case outcomes.
Our lawyers will strategize to provide you with the best representation possible while considering your time and resources.
Call our West Palm Law Firm at (561) 264-5197!
What To Expect In A Contested Divorce
While all contested divorces are unique, there are basic steps that occur in each of them.
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage: The spouse is the petitioner, and their attorney will prepare a Summons and Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, which will then be filed and served on the other spouse (respondent). The respondent then has twenty days to file their Answer to the Petition. At this point in the process, we know what the issues are and each party's position. For more information, click here. Suppose the respondent was served correctly but failed to respond. In that case, they can be held in default, and the divorce can proceed without their involvement.
- Discovery Process: When the respondent does file an Answer, the discovery process is usually the next undertaking. Each party must release to the other information relevant for a proper settlement of the contested issues. This may include financial statements as well as business and property financials. For more information, click here. It can also include witness statements and interrogatories, and depositions. The discovery process can be brief, or it can be drawn out. It depends on the number of assets and debt the parties have accumulated, their respective income levels, and their cooperation with the process.
- Mediation: Mediation is a process wherein a third party (a neutral mediator) meets with you, your famiy law attorney, your spouse, and your spouse’s attorney and attempts to settle the contested matters. For more information, click here. All, none, or some issues may be resolved through mediation. When all are unresolved, it is necessary to go before a judge to have the issues heard and a judgment rendered.
- Trial: During the trial phase, both parties will have an opportunity to present their case before the judge. This may include evidence as well as witness testimony. After presenting their cases, each attorney can present a closing argument. The judge will then render the final decision.
Uncontested Divorce in Florida
An uncontested divorce in Florida is when both parties agree on all issues, such as division of property and debts, alimony, child support, and child custody. There is nothing left for the judge to decide.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Florida?
An uncontested divorce in Florida can take between four to six weeks. The process includes the following:
- A mandatory 20-day waiting period.
- Court backlogs.
- Final hearing scheduling issues.
- Other administrative processes.
To be eligible for an uncontested divorce, spouses must agree to every detail of the dissolution of marriage, including child support and parenting plans.
Is Florida an at Fault Divorce State?
No, Florida is a no-fault divorce state. You don't have to prove your spouse is at fault for marriage troubles. You must only confirm that your marriage is "irretrievably broken" to petition for a dissolution of marriage.
The only two grounds for divorce under Florida law are irreconcilable differences or mental incapacitation. Adultery does not affect most decisions in Florida divorce cases. However, if the adulterer spends marital funds or uses marital assets during their behavior, that will affect the court's decision.
Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce?
Many married couples feel that as long as their divorce is uncontested, they should be able to safely proceed without being represented by a Florida divorce lawyer. However, this is not a good idea, as divorce law is very complex, and proceeding pro se can cause significant issues that a non-lawyer is unable to foresee. It is strongly recommended to retain counsel from an experienced West Palm Beach divorce attorney, even in uncontested divorce circumstances.
Following are several reasons proceeding unrepresented is not recommended by our Florida divorce attorneys:
- Exclusion of Key Topics
- While most people remember to include the big issues, such as child custody (timesharing) and property division, other items are commonly missed. For example, who gets to claim the child(ren) on their taxes? Who is responsible for ensuring the minor child(ren) has health insurance? An attorney well-versed in divorce law will make certain all viable topics are addressed.
- Post-Judgment Modifications
- It is much more expedient and less costly to properly identify and settle issues on the front end of a divorce. Once the agreed-upon terms have been ordered, a post-judgment modification (a supplemental petition for modification) must be filed to modify its terms. This can be a drawn-out and expensive process.
Requirements for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage in FL
One type of uncontested divorce in Florida is called a “simplified dissolution of marriage.” Pursuant to Fla.Fam.Law.R.P. 12.105, a simplified dissolution of marriage is appropriate only when the following conditions are met:
- Both parties must agree to the simplified dissolution of marriage process
- At least one of the parties must have lived in the state of Florida for a minimum of six months
- The wife must not be pregnant
- The parties must not have any minor or dependent children together
- The wife must not have any minor or dependent children born during the marriage
- There is no alimony involved
- There are no marital assets or liabilities requiring a division
- Both parties agree fully with the terms of the divorce
- Both parties agree the marriage is irretrievably broken
This type of divorce can be finalized in as little as thirty days but does terminate both parties’ rights to a trial or appeal.
Skilled West Palm Beach Divorce Lawyers Will Advocate for You
No matter your circumstances, you need astute guidance and representation from experienced counsel when you are going through a divorce. The legal professionals at Winthrop Law Offices are dedicated to assisting you in obtaining the best results possible for your particular circumstances. We are West Palm Beach family law attorneys who care.
Please, read our reviews to see how past clients have felt about working with the Florida attorneys from our firm in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Contact our firm at (561) 264-5197today to schedule a free consultationwith a skilled West Palm Beach divorce attorney now.