The Divorce Dilema | Stressful & Uncertain
Divorce at its best is stressful and uncertain for everyone involved. It is a life-changing time for both parties, their children and even their businesses, if these are involved.
Fletcher & Phillips lawyers often discuss cases with each other, giving divorce clients the benefit of all attorneys’ experience and knowledge base. We are a team of divorce attorneys in Jacksonville, FL.
The law office of Fletcher & Phillips does not quote an initial retainer without an initial consultation with the client. Just as people are not all the same, nor are divorces all the same. There may be children, or children from a blended family.
What does a divorce lawyer do?
There may be blended business interests or inheritances to sort out. Domestic violence or child abuse may be an issue. Same-sex divorce is a new field with far less precedence than other divorces. It may be a military divorce where one or both spouse is in the service. One or both spouses may be retired or about to retire. The ownership of certain property or real estate may be in question. One spouse may be unaware of marital finances. Alimony laws in Florida may change soon.
Even when there are no complications, one or both spouses may disagree with the divorce entirely, and may want to fight at each step of the way.
Because of these and many other constantly varying factors, the lawyers at Fletcher & Phillips can’t structure an initial retainer agreement or amount until after at least a first glimpse into the factors that play into each particular divorce.
Divorce in Florida – Florida Bar
The Florida Bar has much information but county clerks and Judges are specifically prohibited from giving you legal advice as they are ethically and legally bound to represent both sides of any action. Your Fletcher & Phillips, Jacksonville divorce lawyer, can help you navigate the legal system for divorce proceedings in Florida.
Dissolution of Marriage Vs. Divorce
For example, although in common parlance we use the term “Divorce,” in all Florida legal documents the process is referred to as “Dissolution of Marriage” and attorneys will often refer to simply, “Dissolution” rather than “Divorce.”
Steps Common to All Divorces
- One spouse must be a Florida resident for at least 6 months before filing for divorce.
- That spouse must file a petition for divorce (called a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage”) in the appropriate county, stating that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” listing the topics that person would like the court to rule on, and paying the appropriate court fee. (In most Florida counties, this is currently at least $400.00.)
- The other spouse must be officially notified, usually by being served with the petition and a summons. These are what is commonly referred to as “divorce papers.” The spouse being notified is given 20 days to respond to the petition.
- The spouse responding to the petition must address all the matters listed in the petition and, if they see any others they’d like addressed, may add more of their own in a counter-petition.
- If any type of financial relief is a topic of the divorce, certain financial information must be provided from each side to the other within 45 days of the request.
- Some Florida counties also require a Standing Family Law Order, listing what procedures must be included in the process.
- Some Florida counties require a mediation to avoid the cost and rancor of a Trial. If the mediation is unsuccessful, the case must proceed to Trial. Trial may still be avoided if an agreement is reached before the scheduled date of the Trial.
- If there are no minor or dependent children, no financial support requested by either spouse, and both parties agree on all aspects of all issues, you can file a petition for “simplified dissolution of marriage.” This would mean giving up your right to trial and to appeal, among other things.
- If there are minor or dependent children involved, all parties are required to complete a court-approved parenting course before the Judge will enter a final judgment. However, in some cases the Judge can specifically excuse someone from attending for good cause.
The Florida Bar’s website provides this informative online pamphlet on Divorce in Florida: http://www.floridabar.org/tfb/tfbconsum.nsf/48e76203493b82ad852567090070c9b9/50c0b911a9cb28fd85256b2f006c5ba9
If the link does not work, or you would like assistance with a divorce, contact us!