Why Do I Need A Divorce Lawyer?
Hiring a divorce attorney will help you in the following ways:
Additionally, the right divorce attorney can provide you with steady guidance through an emotionally draining and often adversarial process.
Divorce Law FAQs
Short answer, not really. If you file for a divorce and both parties agree, everything can be settled without ever stepping foot in the courtroom. However, if one party contests the divorce, it more than likely will go before a judge.
The answer is – it depends. If both parties are in agreement, the entire process can be wrapped up in a couple of months. However, if there are issues that will require negotiation and mediation, the typical time frame is around 6 months, and if it requires litigation or trial it can easily exceed 1 year.
Florida is known as a “no-fault divorce” state. This means that no one must prove anything to obtain a divorce. One party must simply believe that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” which just means you believe there is no chance for reconciliation. It only requires the belief of one party. That means, even if your soon to be ex-spouse does want the divorce, you can still proceed and you don’t have to drag your family through the mud to do so.
A lot has changed in recent years in child custody. In fact, “custody” is no longer a term that is used. Today, family courts speak in terms of “timesharing” and “parenting plans”. This is because Florida Family Law uses the “best interest of the child” standard and it is assumed that 50/50 or equal access to both parents in always in the best interest of the child absent mitigating factors. If there is a reason to award one parent more than 50% of timesharing- the court will consider the following as possible contributing factors:
- The child’s preference (in certain cases)
- Mental and physical health of both parents
- Any prior domestic violence allegations or charges
- Substance abuse issues
- Relationship the child has with each parent
- The parent’s ability to provide a stable living situation for the child
- The geographic location of each parent
- The parent’s work schedules
- Prior acts of parental alienation by either parent
Alimony, also known as “spousal support” is decided based upon the disparity in earnings of each party. Under Florida divorce law, a court is not required to award or deny alimony payments under any particular set of facts or circumstances. However, a court will be required to consider all relevant factors in determining if alimony should be paid and, if so, how much. The following list is an example of the factors a court may consider in determining an alimony award:
- Length of the marriage
- Age and physical condition of each spouse
- Financial resources of each spouse
- Standard of living to which each spouse has become accustomed
- Occupation, education and current income of each spouse
- Each spouse’s contribution to marriage, including homemaking, childcare, education, and career building of the other party
- Responsibilities of each spouse to any minor children
Florida is what as a known as an “equitable distribution” state. This means that the family law court will resolve property division as fairly as possible. Some people think this means 50/50, and while that may be the case in certain circumstances, there are a variety of outcomes that the court can deem fair or equitable. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to help you understand the way the court is likely to resolve the property division of your marital assets. This knowledge is vital when negotiating with your soon to be ex-spouse.
The most important thing to understand about child support is the way the court views it. Florida law has determined that child support is a right that belongs to your child or children. Therefore, when making determinations of child support, this is the overarching principle the court has in mind. While how much you will actually have to pay or be paid in child support is determined by statutory formula, the court may consider other factors similar to alimony when awarding child support. An experienced attorney will be able to help you assess these factors.
Parental alienation is when one parent deliberately indoctrinates a child to reject the other parent. This is a form of child abuse and should be dealt with immediately as such. Fighting against parental alienation can be a complex process that involves multiple professionals in related fields, including a guardian ad litem, social workers, counselors, and behavioral health specialists. It is important for the benefit of your case to ensure that you do not engage in conduct which can be construed as parental alienation. And if you believe your soon-to-be ex spouse is engaging in this conduct, you should seek the advice of an attorney as soon as possible.
Mediation is how most divorce cases are resolved. In fact, Florida law requires every divorce case to go first go to mediation before they can proceed to trial. This is because Florida courts know that for the parties to come to their own agreement is infinitely better for all involved, especially with minor children. Mediation usually takes 3-4 hours, and involves a neutral 3rd party trained in mediation who acts as the facilitator of the process. You can elect to hire a private mediator or a court appointed mediator for a lessor fee based upon your income levels. The process of the mediation itself involves going back and forth between the parties to reach an agreement on all aspects of your case, from property division, alimony, child support, and timesharing/parenting plans.
Hillsborough County Florida Divorce Court, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
Tampa divorce cases are held at the Hillsborough County Family Law Court located at 800 E. Twiggs Street. The family law division handles divorce, child custody, alimony, child support, and paternity cases.
Mandatory Parenting Course Requirement in Divorces Involving Children
If there are children involved in your divorce, Hillsborough County requires that you complete a four hour court approved parenting course before your divorce can be granted.
If you are the one filing for the divorce, you must complete the class within 45 days of filing the petition. If you were served divorce papers, you have 45 days since receiving the petition to complete the course.