Seek Legal Guidance For The Divorce Process in Melbourne, FL
Understanding the divorce process in Melbourne, FL and the sequence of events is crucial if you’re thinking about filing, as it will help make this trying time go as smoothly as possible.
Offering legal guidance for our clients, the Figueroa Law Group, P.A. is here to give you the information you need to get a divorce in Florida since our Melbourne divorce lawyer recognizes how difficult this time can be.
Get in touch with us today and get the legal help you are looking for.
What is Divorce in Florida?
Couples may use the “Simplified Dissolution of Marriage” procedure, which is available under Florida divorce law, to achieve an uncontested divorce that can be finalized in about 30 days from the time the divorce petition is filed. There are various requirements that must be met for this.
The couple must not have children under the age of 18 or dependents, the wife cannot be pregnant, and alimony cannot be included in addition to both parties agreeing to this process. Both parties must concur on the conditions of the divorce and that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and at least one of the parties must have lived in Florida for at least the previous six months. Both parties’ rights to a trial and appeals are taken away by this process.
Does It Matter Who Files First?
In Florida, like with other states, it does not normally make a substantial difference who files for divorce first, becoming the “petitioner.” Some attorneys claim that it might have an impact if a particular judge’s slight inclinations in one Florida county over the other.
Let’s say your attorney is aware, for instance, that the Circuit Court judge in a specific county frequently awards large child support amounts. Depending on whether their client is the spouse who makes the most money in that scenario, the lawyer’s choice to file first may be affected by this.
Of course, in the aforementioned circumstance, the spouse only has two options:
- Filing a divorce in their local county; or
- They are waiting for the filing of their spouse in the other county of residence.
What Goes in Your Divorce Petition?
Florida is a “no-fault” state that strictly prohibits petitioners from arguing that their spouse’s misconduct is the ground for their divorce (such as adultery, physical or mental cruelty, or desertion). You would typically only write in your petition that your marriage is “irretrievably broken” and that there is no way it can be saved. (Fla. Stat. § 61.052(1) (2021).)
Depending on the situation, the petition will include information about all of your debts and assets, your children and their ages, any provisions you have made, and any issues of dispute.
It’s useful to be aware that the court normally may not take a spouse’s misbehavior into account when determining whether to grant alimony and, if so, how much and for how long. Usually, that decision is made purely on the basis of one spouse’s need for support and the other spouse’s financial capacity. With one exception, the judge may take both the circumstances and any spouse’s adultery into account.
But, even in those situations, a judge is unlikely to provide alimony only because of the adultery unless it somehow increased the need for support on the part of the other spouse or resulted in the depletion of the couple’s assets (such as when the straying spouse used marital funds to finance the affair). The division of property in a divorce follows the same reasoning, and judges may take a spouse’s wasting of marital assets into account when making those decisions as well. (Fla. Stat. § 61.08(1), 61.075(1)(i) (2021); Noah v. Noah, 491 So. 2d 1124 (1986).)
What is the Divorce Process in Florida?
The processes for getting a divorce (dissolution of marriage) in Florida are as follows:
Step 1: Filing the Petition
The petition must be filed in order to begin the divorce process in Melbourne, FL. The person who petitions for a divorce is referred to as the “petitioner” in a dissolution of marriage. The petition is filed in the circuit court and must state that marriage is “irretrievably broken”. The court filing will either take place in the county in which both spouses last lived together or in the county in which the Petitioner currently resides.
Step 2: Answering the Petition
The respondent, or the person on whom the divorce petition is served, must then draft and file an answer to the divorce petition after the initial petition has been filed. The respondent has 20 days after the papers are served to respond. The other spouse’s agreement or denial of the allegations made in the petition will be included in the answer, which frequently also contains a counter-petition, as well as any further information to be presented to the court. The petitioner has 20 days to respond if the respondent’s answer contains a counter-petition.
Any party to the divorce may also request protective orders, restraining orders, and/or temporary orders pertaining to child custody, child support, and spousal support during this stage of the divorce process in Florida after the original filing.
Step 3: Gathering More Information: The Divorce Discovery Process
There are many steps involved in the discovery process. One of the most important parts of the divorce process, and is where a divorce lawyer can learn more important details that will affect the divorce’s outcome. In a divorce, it’s typical for one side not to disclose all of their assets to the other. With a Melbourne divorce lawyer at your side, the courts will receive the thorough information they require to make an acceptable decision about the distribution of property and other assets, the allocation of alimony, and other issues.
Each party shall present mandatory disclosures in addition to a financial affidavit, which shall be filed within 45 days after serving the petition. Documents that must be disclosed include the following:
- Income tax returns
- Bank account statements
- Credit card statements
- Retirement account statements
- Proof of income
- Other account statements that reflect debt
Step 4: Mediation: Negotiating the Divorce’s Terms
In the majority of Florida, if an agreement is yet to be made or there are still some issues with the divorce petition, divorce mediation is required by the law. There may be no need for mediation if you are a victim of domestic violence.
Step 5: Making a Parenting Plan Agreement
One of the last steps in a divorce involving children is deciding on the parenting plan. The plan will cover a variety of topics pertaining to the child (or children), including each parent’s participation in raising the children, a time-sharing schedule, how interaction with the children would be handled, and which parent will be in charge of completing important forms for school, health care, and other related forms like enrollment in sports teams, camps, etc.
Another crucial step in figuring out child support is creating a parenting plan and timesharing schedule.
Step 6: Going to Trial (When Needed)
The divorce proceedings will need to go to trial if the two parties are unable to reach a final agreement covering both the financial aspects of the divorce and problems pertaining to the children (if relevant). It won’t be a jury hearing this, but a judge.
If you think that the final decision by the judge is unfair, you have the choice of filing an appeal to obtain a new hearing.
Step 7: Finalizing the Divorce
The final step in divorce occurs when the judge signs the “order of dissolution,” which is also known as the Final Judgement after all the parameters of the dissolution of marriage have been discussed, negotiated, and agreed upon by the parties (or mandated by the court). In Florida, it is typical for the attorney of the party who filed the divorce petition to draft the judgment for both parties to sign if negotiations end in a divorce without a trial.
Why Do I Need a Family Law Attorney for Divorce Process in Melbourne, FL?
Each spouse in a marriage that is ending should consult with a divorce lawyer to discuss their goals and get legal guidance. Here are some reasons why you need a divorce attorney.
- Legal know-how – If you have a knowledgeable guide who knows the way, any journey will go more smoothly. An experienced lawyer is aware of all the requirements for obtaining a divorce in Florida, including a year of separation, equitable distribution of marital property, and the resolution of child custody battles.
- Steady guidance – Even if you think your divorce will be peaceful, feelings can get very intense while talking about it. A divorce attorney can offer legal assistance and help you work through the points of conflict while working to ensure that you don’t agree to anything against your interests without knowing what you’re doing.
- Alternative ways – You might be able to pursue a collaborative divorce if you and your spouse are mainly in agreement on how your separation and divorce should be handled. This approach tries to place both you and your spouse on the same side of the table as you go through various difficulties with your attorneys’ aid.
- Financial safety – One of a skilled divorce lawyer’s main responsibilities is to protect your financial interests. This entails making sure that spousal support is appropriate for your situation, whether you are paying or receiving it, and that it is fair and reasonable. If negotiation may not be enough to settle financial disputes, the court may have to step in.
- Protection for your rights – Many unhappy partners believe they just want to go and don’t care much about what they might leave behind after a divorce. In addition to your right to an equitable share of whatever you and your spouse accumulated throughout your marriage, you have rights to all of what was yours before you married. The division of marital debts and the division of property are often contentious issues.
An experienced Florida divorce lawyer will take the required actions to categorize all of your assets as either separate or marital property and ensure that each marital asset is given an accurate value. Starting with accurate marital property identification and assessment can ensure that you obtain what is owed to you.
Get in touch with our family law attorneys at Figueroa Law Group, P.A. by calling us today, or through the chat box located at the lower right of our homepage website.
Call our Melbourne Divorce Lawyer Now!
You need an experienced divorce lawyer if you’re ending one chapter of your life by going through the divorce process in Melbourne, FL in order to prevent mistakes. Figueroa Law Group, P.A. will make sure you get everything you’re entitled to.
Our divorce lawyers are aware of the difficulties associated with the process and strive to provide our clients with the excellent service they need at all times. We will take the time necessary to comprehend your family’s situation and assist you in coming up with effective solutions.
Please do not hesitate to contact our Melbourne, Florida law office if you have any family law-related legal issues.