Deciding to get a divorce is a major step in your life, but it is only the beginning of a much bigger process. Divorce can become very complicated, so it is important that you understand what to expect going into this new phase of your life. Understand that the specifics of your divorce will vary depending on your overall circumstances, but use this guide as a way to set some basic expectations of some high-level commonalities in a Florida divorce. Contact me, Attorney Antonio Jimenez, today to schedule an initial consultation, where you can sit with an experienced divorce lawyer in Miami who will give you an understanding of how your situation will affect the divorce process and what you can expect as you move forward. I look forward to working with you through this process and to making the divorce process as stress-free as possible for you while representing your best interests.
The first thing you will need to do when beginning the divorce process is to file a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage. You will submit one of three petitions, and the appropriate type of petition for you to file depends on factors such as whether or not your spouse has decided to work with you collaboratively through the divorce process or whether or not you have children.
Depending on the type of divorce you file for, the complications of your marriage, and the number of agreements that you and your spouse will need to come to, there will be extensive paperwork once the divorce process officially begins. When you are working with an experienced divorce lawyer, you can be sure that your paperwork is properly filled out and submitted every time.
Types of Divorce
The type of divorce you file for in Florida depends a lot on the way you and your spouse can work together. Florida has a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce, and the route you take is entirely up to you and your spouse.
In a contested divorce, you and your spouse refuse to agree on the major issues of your divorce, and as a result, you both leave it up to a Florida family court judge to determine the disputed aspects of your divorce. This is a time consuming and extremely involved option which requires a lot of time and money. You will need to go through an entire contested hearing, at which point a judge will determine your complete dissolution of marriage. If you go this route, expect that it will take a year or more, and a contested divorce is the most costly type of divorce in regards to legal costs.
If you and your spouse work to agree on the various terms of your divorce, then you can have a much simpler process, known as an uncontested divorce. In this, you and your spouse agree to work collaboratively on the terms of the divorce (discussed in more detail below) and, once an agreement on all of the terms of the divorce has been reached, submit a Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. There are a few methods you can choose to handle this divorce process:
If you choose to mediate your divorce, you and your spouse along with your respective attorneys will work with a neutral mediator to address each issue. The mediator will work to find common ground and a fair solution for each of you. Although legal representation is optional during a mediation, obtaining a family lawyer who can explain your rights, advise you on negotiation strategies, and provide you with legal counsel during the mediation process can prove to be an invaluable investment that will enable you to reach a divorce agreement that protects your financial interests.
A cooperative divorce is different from mediation in that instead of having a neutral third party like a mediator negotiate between the parties, you each have a divorce lawyer present to negotiate the terms of the divorce. In this, you each agree to work together as well, and both parties use their lawyers to negotiate an acceptable divorce agreement.
Depending on the nature of your marriage and divorce, there may be more or fewer issues that you need to work through to finalize the process. That said, here are some common issues that spouses must work through, either with or without a hearing, to officially end their marriage:
- Division of marital property
- Division of assets
- Division of debts
- Child custody
- Child support
No matter how many of these issues you will need to work through, it is constructive to have the help of a legal professional with experience in Florida divorce law.
It is essential to discuss fees with your attorney right at the start so that you understand your payment agreement and can move forward with the process comfortably. The divorce process can be expensive, so make sure you have a clear idea of your situation as soon as possible.
Much like cost, the amount of time your divorce will take can depend on any number of factors. Again, discuss this with a divorce lawyer in Miami to get a better idea of what to expect in regards to time commitments while going through this entire divorce process.
Contact my office today to speak with a professional about the nature of your divorce, and how I can help. No matter how simple or complicated your divorce may seem, having the help of a family law professional will be a significant asset to making this process as smooth and fair as possible. I look forward to speaking during your initial consultation, where I will go over the specifics of your situation, talk to you about my process, and determine how we can best work together through this process.