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Miami Family Law Attorneys:
Divorce is not something that is entered into lightly, and the divorce process is complicated and often daunting. However, with an experienced Florida divorce attorney on your side, you’ll be well prepared to move forward with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have professional legal guidance.
Divorce Law Overview
At its most basic, divorce breaks down into the following terms:
The equitable distribution of your marital property
Spousal support (or alimony)
Your child custody arrangements
If you and your divorcing spouse can find a middle ground that you are both willing to sign off on, your divorce can be efficiently finalized by the court. If you’ve exhausted your negotiation options, however, you’ll need to turn to the court to intervene on your behalf regarding those terms that remain unresolved which is resolved in a trial.
The Divorce Process in Florida
The divorce process in Florida involves the following basic steps:
- A petition alleging everything requested to obtain in a divorce.
- In a traditional litigious divorce one of the spouses files and is the Petitioner
- In a collaborative process divorce both spouses file a joint Petition.
- A response or Answer to the Petition is required.
- In a traditional litigious divorce, the spouse is served with the Petition and has 20 days to respond a formal response and the clock of mandatory disclosure of a long list of financial documentation is started.
- In a collaborative process divorce, both spouses agree in a joint response.
- Discovery / Gathering of documents and evidence
- In a traditional litigious divorce, Mandatory disclosures is required within 45 days, subpoenas are issued, sworn statements are obtained in writing or orally in depositions, forensic experts are hired, psychological evaluations and home studies may ensue.
- In a collaborative process divorce, both spouses in joint meetings with their attorneys and a neutral financial specialist and a neutral facilitator exchange documents voluntarily and discussions and questions are answered.
- Attempts to settle.
- In the traditional litigious process, the spouses are ordered to mediation to attempt settlement. If an agreement or partial agreement is reached it is recorded in the public records for anyone to see.
- In a collaborative process divorce, the spouses begin by making an agreement and commitment to negotiate fairly and honestly and a series of meetings build on agreements all focused to settle all matters in a private and confidential matter.
- Divorce (Dissolution of Marriage) is granted by a Judge.
- In the traditional litigious process, the Judge makes all findings and decides all matters in a Final Judgment. Alternatively, the Judge may review agreements reached in mediation that are filed and are public record and dissolve the marriage. Since Covid-19 many Judge’s are finalizing divorces without the need of any physical appearance and in some instances without a virtual appearance as well.
- In the collaborative process, the Judge reviews certain representations of the spouses and enters a Final Judgment adopting all the terms of the collaborative process agreement, while keeping the agreement out of the public records.
Florida Divorce Jurisdiction
Generally, the State of Florida has jurisdiction over your divorce if at least one of you has made the state your primary residence for at least six months prior to the divorce filing.
Legal Separation in Florida
Florida is one of only a few states that does not offer a formal process for legal separation, but there are statutes in place that can help you mimic some of the matters resolved via a divorce, such as child custody arrangements and both child and spousal support. Spouses often times enter into post-marital agreements during a time of separation.
How Long Does a Divorce Take?
Every divorce is unique to the situation involved and will take as long as it takes to be finalized, but there are some basic guidelines that can help you predict how long your divorce will take, including:
There is a mandatory 20-day waiting period after filing for divorce, however it can be mutually waived.
Depending on the circumstances the process can take as little as several weeks and if litigious several years.
Divorce is a highly emotional process, where the most intimate of relationships is severed. The emotions often times get in the way of clarity and reason and result in a longer process and more litigious process.
**In a traditional litigious divorce, the spouses are adversarial.
**In a collaborative process the spouses work together to severe their bonds of matrimony and work to preserve their interest instead of their positions.
Uncontested vs Contested Divorce
An uncontested divorce simply means that you have resolved each and every divorce term (regardless of how you got there) and do not require a judge to make decisions. In a contested divorce, on the other hand, there is at least one term that requires the court to intervene, hear evidence and make decisions.
An Experienced Florida Divorce Attorney Is on Your Side
The accomplished divorce attorneys at Costa & Associates are committed to skillfully advocating for divorce terms that uphold your legal rights and that work for you and your children. For more information, please don’t wait to contact or call us at 305-827-0100 to schedule a free consultation today.