Filing for Divorce in Melbourne, FL
Let the Figueroa Law Group, P.A. Guide You Forward
Divorce can be a confusing, uncertain, and stressful time and the Figueroa Law Group, P.A. understands these issues. You want a divorce attorney in Melbourne, FL who will ensure that your legal rights are professionally asserted and that the health and interests of your children are thoroughly protected. The Figueroa Law Group, P.A. can guide you through the stages of your divorce as a trustworthy legal adviser who is solution-focused.
Why do I need a Divorce Attorney in Florida?
Divorce can be a difficult and emotional process, but having a skilled divorce lawyer can make all the difference. When choosing a divorce lawyer, it is important to look for someone who is experienced in the specific practice areas that are relevant to your case. You want a lawyer who has experience in litigation and trials as well as training to be able to facilitate an amicable settlement when possible.
For example, if you have complex financial assets, you will want a lawyer who is skilled in equitable division of high assets including retirement, brokerage and other investment accounts, debts, real estate, business evaluations and when to engage the services of an allied professional such as a forensic certified public accountant, if and as needed. If you have children, you will want a lawyer knowledgeable about child parenting plans to support the emotional and developmental needs of children, child support and related expenses and parental rights in the family law matter.
The Figueroa Law Group P.A. has divorce lawyers who are highly experienced in all of these areas, and more. We will work diligently to protect your interests and obtain the best possible outcome for your unique circumstances.
If you are considering divorce, please contact our law office today for a free consultation. We would be happy to answer any questions you have and provide you the personal help you need to navigate this difficult time.
What is Divorce?
In the state of Florida, divorce is defined as the “dissolution of marriage” (Florida Statutes, Section 61.021). This means that the legal relationship between a husband and wife is ended, their marriage is irretrievably broken and request that their marriage be dissolved.
Florida is a no fault State and divorce can be granted when a spouse has been a resident for 6 months prior to the filing of the petition for dissolution and that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Once the divorce process is finalized, both parties are free to remarry and/or live their lives per their choosing.
What Are Florida Grounds for Divorce?
If you’re considering divorce in the state of Florida, it’s important to understand the divorce process and what divorce grounds are required. In Florida law, divorce is classified as a no-fault divorce, meaning fault-finding is not required.
When filing for divorce, you must only state that your marriage is irretrievably broken. However, there are still some requirements that must be met in order to file for divorce.
At least one spouse must be a six-month Florida resident before filing for divorce. This residency requirement can be met with a showing of driver’s license issued prior to 6 months from filing the petition or by sworn testimony. Military members are presumed to be a Florida resident for purposes of maintaining any action if he or she is living in Florida.. Additionally, for military members there must be a concurrent intent to be a permanent Florida resident as an element for the residency test.
Additionally, a more streamlined simplified divorce is an option for couples without children and only assets and debts.
This option involves less paperwork, court appearances, negotiation time and may be less expensive. To be eligible for a simple divorce, the following conditions must be met:
- Jurisdiction must be met
- Both spouses agree that the marriage cannot be saved
- No minor children under 18 (biological or adopted) or dependent children
- The wife cannot be pregnant,
- One spouse has lived in Florida for 6 months
- Both spouses divide assets and obligations
- Neither party is seeking alimony
- Waiving your right to a trial and an appeal
- Both parties must sign the petition
- Both spouses attend the final hearing at the same time
If you have any questions or concerns about divorce in Florida, it’s best to consult with an experienced and skilled attorney.
Timesharing - Putting Children First
Divorce is never an easy process, but when children are involved, it can become even more difficult. In Florida, the court’s primary consideration is the best interests of the child or children.
This means that the court will focus on ensuring that the divorce does not have a negative impact on the children’s lives.
The court will consider the following factors:
- The child’s relationship with each parent.
- The parent’s demonstrated ability to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship.
- Honor the timesharing schedule.
- The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation and the extent of responsibilities delegated to third parties.
- The parents’ ability to act upon the needs of the child over their own needs.
- Length of time the child has lived in a stable environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
- The geographic viability of the parenting plan with attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time traveling to effectuate the parenting plan.
- Moral fitness of the parents.
- The mental and physical health of the parents, home, school, and community records of the child.
- The preference of the child if the court deems the child is of sufficient age, intelligence, and understanding to express a preference.
- Each parent’s ability to be informed of the circumstance of the minor child
- The child’s friends, teachers, medical care, providers, daily activities, and favorite things.
- The demonstrated ability of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child such as discipline, daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime.
- Evidence of domestic violence.
- Whether either parent has provided false information to the court on the parenting tasks customarily performed by each parent and the division of parental responsibilities before the litigation.
- The parents demonstrated the ability to participate and are involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.
- The parent’s demonstrated ability to maintain an environment for the child free from substance abuse.
- The ability of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation.
- The parent’s knowledge of the developmental stages and needs of the child.
- The parent’s ability to meet those needs and any other factor relevant to determine a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule.
By taking these factors into consideration, the court can ensure that the divorce does not adversely affect the children involved.
Handling All Types of Divorce
Divorce is something that no one plans to happen, but unfortunately, it is a reality for many couples. If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of needing to divorce your spouse or your spouse files for divorce, it is important to know that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Each divorce case is unique, the facts and circumstances are unique and therefore your divorce requires a unique approach with a skilled an experienced attorney. The Figueroa Law Group, P.A. has the skills and experience and has handled thousands of cases providing their clients with a step by step analysis and case strategy to meet the client’s individual goals.
Types of divorce
Uncontested divorce is sometimes the more beneficial type of divorce in Florida. In an uncontested divorce, the parties have already agreed on all issues related to their divorce, including property division, child custody, and support. The parties often remain amicable after the divorce has concluded.
A contested divorce occurs when the parties cannot agree on one or more of these issues. These cases are litigated and the process is more complicated and requires significant time and preparation.
Collaborative Family Law
Diana Figueroa, Esquire is also trained in the collaborative process of family law. This process is to:
- facilitate the case in a manner that will encourage development of a settlement agreement that meets the goals, interests and concerns of both parties
- a process outside of court where the attorneys on both sides
- helps clients understand and address difficult and complex issues that arise in a divorce
- helps the parties explore options that can lead to resolution of their divorce issues on a going forward basis
- requires transparency which is honest, voluntary, and good faith exchange of all relevant information
The collaborative process involves meetings that can be remote, and the process can be completed in 4 to 6 months on average. These meetings can include a financial neutral to advise both parties and a mental health neutral to address any emotional or psychological issues of the parties or the children.
This process can be less stressful for all involved and less time consuming than the traditional divorce litigation. However, in the event that either client decides to go to court, all the professional from the collaborative process including the attorneys are disqualified from participating in future litigation. The positive is that this is a process that both parties commit to achieve solution out of court that consider the interests and goals of each family member.
If this process is right for you, call us right away to schedule your consultation with our highly skilled and experienced collaborative attorney.
High Net Worth
A high net worth divorce is a divorce in which the parties have significant assets or income
Military divorce is a divorce in which one or both of the parties is active-duty or retired military personnel. A military divorce presents unique issues and our skilled and experienced attorneys will guide you with the issues unique to the military including alimony, timesharing plans, child support and military retirement.
No matter what type of divorce you are facing, it is important to seek experienced legal representation to protect your rights and interests.
Business Owners’ Divorce
In Florida, business owners involved in a divorce wish to protect their business and their interest in the business. The divorce process is different for business owners. They may have to involve an expert to value the business to determine the marital portion, if any, and consider the goals of the business after the divorce.
The Divorce Process
Request for a Temporary Order
In the state of Florida, divorce proceedings can take from six months to two years on average. This can be a difficult wait for couples who have decided to divorce, especially if they are not on good terms. Fortunately, Florida law allows for couples to request temporary orders during the divorce process. These orders can include temporary timesharing arrangements and schedules, child support, temporary spousal support, and restraining orders. This allows for some level of stability during the divorce proceedings.
Additionally, there are administrative orders that require that payments continue on marital obligations, mortgage, taxes, health, car payments and auto insurance to maintain the status quo while the divorce proceedings are pending
Serving your spouse as you await a response
In Florida, divorce law requires that the person who files the divorce petition (the “Petitioner”) must serve the other spouse (the “Respondent”) with divorce papers.
Once your spouse has been served, you must file a proof of service with the court. If you don’t properly serve your spouse or file a proof of service, the judge can’t proceed with your divorce. If you unable to serve your spouse due to lack of knowledge of their whereabouts, you may proceed to serve them by publication after diligent efforts are made to locate them.
Serving your spouse can be easy if they agree to the divorce and sign an acceptance of serve. However, some spouses, especially those who want to stay married or complicate the procedure, can be evasive or impede the process. If this is the case, it’s best to hire a professional who has experience serving difficult parties. With their help, you can ensure that your divorce papers are served correctly and that your divorce case can move forward.
The Respondent then has 20 days to file an answer to the divorce petition unless served with a request for financial documents in which case they have 45 days to file their response. If the Respondent does not file an answer, the court may grant a “default” judgment against them. This means that the case may proceed to final hearing without their answer being filed.
Negotiate a settlement
Some tips for divorce settlements are to be respectful, stay on topic, be reasonable, and have an open mind. Negotiations should proceed in a calm manner and if the negotiations become heated, you can take a break and put that issue for later resolution and move on with issues that can be resolved.
You may need to work with the other party long after the divorce is final. It is helpful to meet with your attorney in advance to discuss your options and to write down your goals for the divorce settlement before negotiations begin. This can help you stay focused on what is important to you. In Florida, divorce mediation is required in most cases. Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party assists the parties in communicating and reaching an agreement. The attorneys for each party usually participate and remain in separate rooms that can proceed in person or remotely.
Mediation can save time and money during a divorce, so it is important to be full prepared to cause mediation to be successful.
When settlement attempts have failed some couples may feel their only option is to go to trial. A party should carefully consider that divorce trials can be expensive, time-consuming, and stressful. The parties often give the judge all the power to make decisions about important issues like timesharing schedules for their children, child support-ongoing and retroactive support and property division. In contrast, negotiations, mediation and Collaborative Family Law process allow the couple to maintain control over the outcome of their divorce and often result in more predictable results and an amicable relationship going forward. In the event, that your case will proceed to trial, you can be assured that the attorneys at the Figueroa Law Group, P.A. have years of trial experience and are skilled trial lawyers. Our attorneys will be fully prepared well in advance and will take the time to meet with you to also prepare you for the upcoming court proceedings including trial strategy, appropriate behavior, what to do when legal objections are made and the manner of testimony.
Finalize Judgment of Divorce
Divorce proceedings in Florida can take anywhere from a few months to over two years to complete. Once all the paperwork is filed and both parties have had their day in court, the judge will review the testimony and the evidence and later enter their ruling in the form of a Final Judgment. This document officially ends the marriage and outlines things such as custody arrangements, parenting time schedules, child and spousal support payments, and how assets and debts will be divided between the two parties. If the divorce was negotiated between the husband and wife rather than decided by a judge, it is typically the job of the filing spouse’s lawyer to draft the final judgment. However, in cases where there was a divorce trial, it will usually be the judge who issues the Final Judgment.
Choices of Mediation, Litigation and Collaborative Divorce
When it comes to divorce, there are a few different paths that couples can choose to take. In some cases, mediation or a collaborative divorce process may be successful in reaching an agreement between the two parties. However, when both parties are unable to reach agreeable terms, litigation may be the only option. Our divorce attorneys in Melbourne, Florida have a wealth of experience and knowledge of the law, which allows us to effectively fight for your rights in court. No matter what route you choose to take, we will be by your side every step of the way.
Call our Divorce Lawyer Now!
No one wants to face divorce, but if you find yourself in this difficult situation, or you believe a divorce may be likely to occur in the short future, it’s important to have a divorce or family lawyer on your side even before either party files a petition for divorce. The Figueroa Law Group, P.A. is here to help our clients or residents in the state of Florida through this tough time.
We understand the challenges you’re facing, and we’re here to help you through every step of the divorce process. We have the experience and knowledge you need to ensure that your rights are protected, and we’ll work tirelessly to help you reach a fair settlement and be prepared for trial.
Call our law firm today to schedule a consultation with our family law lawyer and let us help you take the first step toward moving on with your life.